So, my crew finally broke. We came down with a group case of the “COVID crazies” last week when torrential thunderstorms forced us to stay inside for five days straight.
It was too much for us to handle. My kiddos threw back-to-back tantrums. My husband landed in a mopey funk. And I, after months of pondering it, finally broke down and cried. Fortunately, God always uses the valleys for our good and His glory 🙂
I start every day the same way–reading a chapter of the Bible. The last few weeks I have been plodding through Isaiah and, spoiler alert, the beginning half of the book can be pretty dreary. LOTS of holy judgement being pronounced and egos being trounced. On Wednesday, though, I surprisingly found encouragement in one of Isaiah’s end time prophecies.
The wilderness and the dry land will be glad;Isaiah 35:1-2
the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose. It will blossom abundantly and will also rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
In chapter 34, God serves judgement upon the nations and everything looks pretty bleak–except for the fact that all of the desolation was perfectly executed according to God’s word (via Isaiah’s mouth) and by God’s spirit (aka the Holy Spirit). And the land rejoices in this revelation of God’s glory, “the splendor of out God,” in the beginning of chapter 35. However, the tide starts to change in verse 3 of chapter 35.
Strengthen the weak hands, steady the shaking knees! Say to the cowardly: “Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God; vengeance is coming. God’s retribution is coming; He will save you.”Isaiah 35:3-4
Who feels a little cowardly right now? Me! And I know that I am not alone. The world is crazy right now–COVID 19, swarms of locusts in South America, economic recession, and the list goes on. However, take heart. Even though God looks absent, His perfect justice is coming and He can most certainly save you from eternal retribution if you put your full trust in Jesus for salvation (aka saving). He can also deliver you from temporal problems right now like He has done for numerous people (some of whom are documented in the Bible). Just tap into your God’s peace, strength, and power through prayer 🙂
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the parched ground will become a pool of water, and the thirsty land springs of water. In the haunt of jackals, in their lairs, there will be grass, reeds, and papyrus. A road will be there and a way; it will be called the Holy Way. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for the one who walks the path. Even the fool will not go astray. There will be no lion there, and no vicious beast will go up on it; they will not be found there. and the redeemed of the Lord will return and come to Zion with singing, crowned with unending joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.Isaiah 35:5-10
What a wonderful day it will be when our Lord comes back and makes all things new! However, we would have no idea how amazing the new Earth was without having experienced this Old Earth. Think about it. How would we know to rejoice in the healing of the disabled if we had not seen them limp and stuttering? How would we know to be rightly grateful for the lack of sorrow and sighing without having experienced these saddening lows? How would we know how to be blissfully joyful that God had already taken care of every to-do list item and eliminated the all injustices if we had never sighed wearily trying to address such hardships?
So, yes, these times are treacherous. However, REMEMBER that these circumstances are still:
- Ordained & governed by God’s sovereign hand;
- Gifts from God to His people and are working for God’s glory & the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28); and
- Never going to prevail against Jesus’s church (Matt. 16:18)!
And in light of these truths, we can plod slowly onward for God’s glory–humbly ministering to our families, encouraging our neighbors, and furthering the kingdom of God. Just pace your shaky knees and trust in God’s strength bank, not your own 🙂
What are your thoughts/reactions? Share your feedback in the comments section below!