Summer has for the past several years been a time for renewal. It has been a time to focus on relaxing, self-care, and spending time setting long forgotten priorities back into balance. For the past two years the beginning of summer has not began in a mode of peace, and I have had to really seek God’s leading each morning as I read His Word. I have always found comfort in the verses and passages of Isaiah as I have hunted and pecked through my Bible over the years. Such messages as “do not be afraid;” or “I have chosen you, and not rejected you” (Isaiah 41:9); and “I will hold you in my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10) have all provided me with comfort. And, I thought these messages would be fitting as I navigated new, unknown territory in ministry, and a new school assignment. Because, at times I have been fearful. Uncertain. Afraid.
Then as I began to study all the chapters of Isaiah, I read that it’s central theme was “God as Savior,” and “redemption from Egypt.” Well, since I had felt like I had been trapped in Egypt for some time…well, it seemed perfect to me.
For the past two days I have asked God this question many times: Why?
Because, I can’t understand over the course of the last few months why some things happened the way they did. Why my heart remains heavy at times. Why I have cried myself to sleep asking this question, and hearing no answer. Why I still feel like I have failed in some way to fulfill whatever He called me to.
Today as I sat on my porch reading over my daily assigned passage in Isaiah, I was directed to also read one from Matthew:
“Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove. Don’t be naive. Some people will impugn your motives, they will smear your reputation-just because you believe in me. Don’t be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they’ve done you-and me-a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.” (Matthew 10:16-20, MSG)
I wasn’t arrested. I never stood trial. But, there were days I felt like I was whipped, branded a liar, and some crazy person for doing what God wanted me to do. Mocked in front of others because I “prayed about it.” And in the end, not able to speak the truths I knew. Those that still haunted me at times.
But God…he had more to show me on that porch:
But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. Matthew 10:22-23
I stopped. Looked up. And simply said: “God, I have found favor in you, haven’t I?”
See, He hadn’t left me. He had given me a way out.
And while I wept, I knew in that moment…everything was going to be OK.
“The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” Exodus 14:14
Maybe I wasn’t able to fight an earthly battle for truth and justice, but God…He was fighting. Truth and justice would win eventually. And, it was all going to be OK.
Maybe I had to be broken, beaten, whipped, and bruised in order to be made new and victorious. But with God, it was all going to be OK.
I had been as gentle as a sheep. As harmless as a dove. I had shown God’s love, and not wavered. I had endured to the end, and done what he had instructed. not leaving Him. And, God…He certainly never left me. And, it is all going to be OK.