by Jayna Coppedge
I vacillate between dread, disgust, and fear when I listen to the world news. It appears that much of what I value is disappearing. I hurt as I see others suffering. I can relate to the prophet Isaiah, because God told him that Judah, his home, would be destroyed.
“Then I said, ‘For how long, Lord?’ And he answered: ‘Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken.’” Isaiah 6:11, 12
God has not told me personally that my country will soon lie in ruins, but I no longer see Christian values reflected in my community. Gambling is thought to be the best source to fund our schools. Denominations appear to be ignoring portions of scriptures, letting culture define marriage. When it comes to stewarding our natural resources, Christians seem to be irresponsible. I am uneasy about the political, environmental, and economic future. Perhaps it is my age, the media, or the pricking of the Holy Spirit, but I grieve more. Yet my pain is nothing compared to what Isaiah describes.
“A dire vision has been shown to me: . . . At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see. My heart falters, fear makes me tremble; the twilight I longed for has become a horror to me.” Isaiah 21:2-4
Even so, the prophet of hope writes:
” The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come . . . to save you.’” Isaiah 35:1, 4
God never leaves Isaiah without hope. Mediating on these seeds of assurance, my faith grows. Plucking doubts, lies, and selfishness, I cultivate my mind. Regardless of how situations may appear, God is gracious, compassionate, powerful, generous, just, and at work.
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18
It is as if I can hear Satan whisper: “If God loved you, your life would be easier. Are you so sure God even cares? If God loves ‘His people’ so much, then why doesn’t He stop the torture and executions?” But we know what God promises from His Word:
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever.” Isaiah 26:3, 4a
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands . . .”Isaiah 49:15-17
Headlines of war, rulings by judges, behavior of leaders cultivate fear in my heart. When my security is based on anything other than God, I feel helpless and hopeless. Yet when I put my hope in the Lord, I am strong. God empowers those who put their faith in His ability.
“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.” Isaiah 40: 29-31
Isaiah reminds me to discipline my attitude. “Jayna, do you have any knowledge that God lacks? Who are you to second guess God’s supervision?” I have no basis to whine about circumstances when all that I have is God’s gracious gift. Since God is in control, the world is full of hope.
“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.” Isaiah 40: 27-28
Isaiah prophesied comfort and security to people in danger. Perhaps this book gave the courage needed for Daniel in the den of lions, and his friends in the fiery furnace. Mediating on this promise gives me the faith to trust God unconditionally.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:1, 2
God’s power is not limited by man’s obedience. Although the world may seem to be out of control, God knows exactly what is and what will be. Choosing to trust and not panic when life’s circumstances are overwhelming takes effort. Isaiah sets an example of obedience through pain and difficulty. He remembered the Mighty God and depended on Him.
What Scriptures are you planting in your mind so that your faith grows?
Which of the “Broken Faithful” are you most like?
Is there an example you want to emulate more?
Take time to write your story as to how the mighty God used your “brokenness.”
Choosing to believe God and not leaning on her own understanding is a continuous battle for Jayna.
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