Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

Isaiah 30:15-19 ~ 

This what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it.
You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
    Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
    Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
A thousand will flee
    at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
    you will all flee away,
till you are left
    like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
    like a banner on a hill.”

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!

People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.

I vividly remember my children as toddlers learning to dress themselves.  We would be in a hurry and on our way to an appointment.  I would try to help them and they would say, "No!"  "I can do it!"   They didn't want my help and would protest loudly when I would try to intervene.  So many times, they would have pieces of clothing on backwards or their buttons would be in the wrong buttonholes.  They looked like a mess!

I can treat the Lord like that at times.  He longs to help me and be gracious.  His desire is to give me good things.  But so often, I push His hand away and say, "No!"  "I can do it myself!" 
And because He is kind and loving, He doesn't force Himself on me.  He allows me to do it my own way.   And I end up in a mess.

As I read this passage of scripture this morning, I could relate to the Israelites.  God reminds them that if they would let go, give up and turn to Him that He would give them salvation.  If they would cease the activity and control and struggling, He would give them His strength.  Yet, they stubbornly said, "No!"  "We can do it ourselves!"

However, trying to do it in my own strength always leads to defeat, discouragement and despair.  And all the while, God quietly waits in the background.  He isn't pushy or demanding.  He longs to pour out His blessing in my life.  If I would stop trying to do it myself and stop controlling things, He would pour out His grace and mercy and compassion.

My encouragement for you today is to allow God to be gracious to you.  Stop trying to handle or manipulate every situation.  Stop thinking you don't need the Lord and can do it by yourself.  When you cry out to God, there is no delay.  He responds immediately.  He is there longing to be gracious and merciful.  You just need to ask.

Learn to turn to Him before things turn into a giant mess!