sexta-feira, 10 de junho de 2016


My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God.
Isaiah 40:27b (read 40:21-31) NIV

The people had suffered disgrace and were exiled from their country, humiliated, exploited and hopeless. They thought God indifferent to their situation, felt abandoned and left to fend for themselves. They had reached "bottom of the pit".

But the prophet said that was not so, and that, since the creation, God is within everything that happens. His purposes are beyond our understanding. He is relentless in pursuing his plan and can give new strength to the weary who trust in Him. Confidence gives power and energy in the face of exhaustion and weakness. In other words: "the bottom of the pit is where we find water".

Can we still find inspiration for our time after 2600 years have passed since this writing and our concept of the world has changed? Our reality is very different from that of the People of Israel. Their great misfortune was the exile: forced to live in Babylon far from their homeland. The historical circumstances of that time in the long past has little in common with our lives today. We are in our own country or where we choose to be. We do not feel the absence of God. Brazilians like to jest that God is Brazilian and Americans think of God as blessing America only.

But then there are other realities. One is represented by the motion picture film "City of God" (Cidade de Deus) by Fernando Meirelles. There are large segments of Brazilian society who live another kind of exile, unable to enjoy a life of dignity. There are large squatter communities, dominated by poverty and marginalization. There are illiterate, unemployed, underemployed, landless, homeless, working children and rural areas in semi-slave conditions on the margins of society. It is an “indoor exile”. The distribution of wealth is increasingly concentrated in a small minority, leaving the majority as second-class citizens. The film "Elite Squad” (Tropa de Elite) by José Padilha reveals that there are also many who belong to the middle and upper classes, exiled from real life, supporting organized crime by being drug addicts.

The United States is also a nation of many “indoor exiles”. With mass incarcerations it has more people per capita in prisons than any other country in the world. With less than 5% of the world population the US has 25% of the world’s prisoners of which 45% are afro decent. Other segments of indoor exiles are the migrant farm workers working under slave conditions and the millions who are forced to take temporary jobs at a less than livable minimum salary without fringe benefits in commerce and service industries.

In the global scenario the situation is no different. Richer countries suck the resources of the poor and the populous. A few live in abundance while the majority barely survives. Wars and political violence have produced millions of widows, orphans and refugees who struggle to just stay alive.

The fauna and flora are also losing their space on the planet. IBAMA ( published a list of 627 species of Brazilian fauna threatened with extinction. The same is happening with the flora. The whole planet Earth is being hit by human selfishness and contempt.

It is hypocritical to ask if God cares about us. This whole situation is manmade. The honest question is “Do we care?” Do we care about the social and economic injustice? Do we care about the violence of those in power against the other defenseless human beings? Do we care about materialistic greed which devastates wildlife and flowers and is depleting the earth's natural resources? Do we care about the poisoning of the air, soil and water for profit? It’s no use trying to evoke God. We are at the bottom of the pit, and it is up to us to take action, to find the water and get out of the hole we have dug for ourselves.


Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
He brings princes to naught
    and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
No sooner are they planted,
    no sooner are they sown,
    no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
    and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
“To whom will you compare me?
    Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
    Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
    and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
    not one of them is missing.
Why do you complain, Jacob?
    Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
    my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

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