Isaiah and the Of-Courseness of God

Isaiah. Lake michigan sunset. The of-courseness of God. Barbara Falconer Newhall travels up and down Michigan's lower peninsula, visiting friends and family and putting on book events for "Wrestling with God."

Isaiah: He stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain. And (yet another Lake Michigan) photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

For most of my adult life I haven’t been so sure about God. That such a thing could exist seems far-fetched, too good to be true.

But now that I’m firmly located in the second half of my life – okay, okay, the third third of my life (And no, I’m not calling it the last third of my life; I’m not ready to go there – yet) . . . now that I’ve moved along in my life, past the time when I have to make my mark on the world, produce those babies, get them raised to adulthood, achieve some success and glory as a writer, stash away some money for retirement . . . now that the gotta-do part of my life is behind me – I seems to me (on a good day) that God’s existence is right there for all to see, plain as day.

You can’t miss it. Something is going on out there. Of course it is. It’s common sense. How else could things be?

The eighth-century BCE Hebrew prophet Isaiah appears to share my sense of the of-courseness of God. This exuberant Bible passage is attributed to him:

Have ye not known? Have ye not heard?

Hath it not been told you from the beginning?

Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth,

And the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers;

That stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain,

And spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in . . . .

– Isaiah 40:21-22, King James Version

If you enjoyed this post (and even if it was too Bible-y for you) you’ll probably like my book, “Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith.” Also “For Lent, Trying Giving Up That Old, Outworn Story About Yourself.”  And “What Happens When You Drop Your Cell Phone Into the Sacred Buddhist Sand Painting?”



  1. Sharie McNamee says:

    Someone so long ago went through the same reasoning about God that we inhabitants of the earth do today . . . Although I prefer thinking of myself as more than a grasshopper.

    • Sharie, I’m going to assume that Isaiah was talking about the abundance of grasshoppers, not their grasshoppery-ness. I happen to be a fan of grasshoppers. They leap into the air without a clue as to where they are going to land, and they always land somewhere.

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