For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways, says The Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earths so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as rain and snow fall from the heavens and return not again, but water the earth,
Bringing forth life and giving growth, seed for sowing and bread for eating,
So is my word that goes forth from my mouth; it will not return to me empty;
But it will accomplish that which I have purposed, and prosper in that for which I sent it. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 87)
One morning before ordination, before church, before everyone else arrived, and we were talking about the future and the fears and the falling rolls and the failure of nerve and the fact that I was probably not going to be the person called to reverse the rot;
the conversation was full of what I could not do.
So I went into the empty chapel and knelt before the empty altar and prayed in a certain tone of depression and desperation,
“So what do you expect me to do? Go down with the ship?”
And God answered with unusual, unexpected and irregular clarity,
“It’s not your ship.”
Between the Second Song of Isaiah and the reflection upon it at Morning Prayer today, I was reminded of this little incident in the middle of a little Sunday morning, and how the word of God will accomplish God’s purposes, how God’s word will prosper, whatever our own depression, desperation and defeatist prayers.
Back then, I got up, got dressed for the liturgy, and prayed fully and fervently, “Your will be done.” And just like that, hope returned.