Hi everyone. Rob here.
These verses were part of my bible reading the other day from Isaiah 30:15, 18.
In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it…
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
Israel was under threat from the Assyrian army and instead of putting their trust in God to deliver them they were making their own plans and schemes. They were relying on political solutions, their own ideas when the God of the universe was ready and willing to help them. It meant that their solutions were far too small and fragile for the magnitude of the problem they were facing.
Sometimes we either think of our problems as far too big for God to handle or too small for him to be bothered with. Why is that? I suspect that we struggle to truly believe this; “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you.” Life is hard and feels hard. The entrance of sin into the world saw to that. We often try and minimise how hard life is. After all, compared to the pain and uncertainty that Syrian refugees are facing or the hunger that confronts millions every day most of us have an easy life. But it’s not easy. It’s just less hard. And the Lord longs to be gracious to the Syrian refugee, the hungry child, and you. The issue is that our problems don’t feel big enough to cry out to God for, and yet they are too big for us to handle.
God wants to use us to show his graciousness. He wants people to rise up and feed the hungry and house the refugee, but we can’t do that if our issues are overwhelming us. We need to name what’s hard, surrender what’s hard and give ourselves over to God who will rise up to show us compassion. For example, our beloved cat is old and sickly and will probably have to be put down soon. I don’t want to do that without God. I’m behind in my thesis writing and it’s weighing on my mind. I want God to be at the centre of the solution to that. I have a hunger to go to a Ransomed Heart Boot Camp in Colorado next year but I don’t want to make that decision without God. On it goes; the car issues, health concerns, wider family issues, concern for friends, doing relationships – this stuff is all hard and unless we give it over to God it will wear us out. God longs to be gracious to us.
It’s the striving for our own solutions that does us in. God is gracious and just. His solutions are best. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. God wants to come through for us. The bigger question is do we want him to come through for us on his terms or ours? I want to be part of Gods solutions for others and for the world. This means that I need to actively surrender to him what’s hard in my life. I have to choose to believe that he knows my life better than I do. If I surrender what’s hard then I’m free to receive the good that he wants to give me. When I lay down my way of doing things then I’m free to follow his way.
Repentance and rest; quietness and trust. May these words describe your posture before God this week. May you know his compassion, his graciousness and his justice and may you be filled with those same qualities as you seek to love your neighbour in his name.