July 24, 2014

Isaiah 59:1-2 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.

God’s prophets seldom beat around the bush. This is hardly a “politically correct” response for when people want to know why God doesn’t help them. However, political correctness is hardly, if ever, helpful in solving anything. Some people seem to relish confrontation and some avoid it at all cost. God utilizes it whenever necessary, but doesn’t relish it. The thing is, God is gentle, but He doesn’t lie. We sometimes would prefer nice-sounding lies! As the first verse here says, God is never unable to save. We need to have that fact firmly in our hearts and minds. However, sometimes God’s definition of salvation differs from what we would like it to be. Such times call for real faith, but the end result is always better than what we would have planned. The situation Isaiah is addressing is not that, but what is actually far more common: refusing to obey God rejects His blessing and protection. We do children a terrible disservice if we fail to teach them that actions have consequences, sometimes painful ones. Just as never letting a child fail destroys their capacity for real success, failing to set boundaries and discipline them when they cross those boundaries teaches them to despise all authority, including God’s. When we are “in a fix,” the first step is to analyze how we got there, and if it is by our own doing, repent, that is, turn around and do differently. When we are honestly seeking and desiring to do God’s will, we find that He is indeed mighty to save.

I have, of course, run into this many times. I have learned, and I teach others, that God is never mean, but far more gracious than we deserve. Often we think that we want justice, but what we really want is mercy, because if we got what we really deserved, we would be destroyed. Grumbling is a favorite human pastime, but I have learned that it benefits no one, least of all the grumbler. Any time I run into difficult circumstances I need to thank God for allowing them and ask Him what He wants me to learn/gain from them.

Lord, You have allowed me to go through another trying time recently, with stresses seeming to pile up and burnout on the horizon. Thank You. This has helped me learn to trust You more and better, and to be more honest in my evaluation of my own level of obedience. May I indeed not run from conflict, from situations I’d rather not deal with, but face things honestly, knowing that with Your help I can get through anything. (Philippians 4:13) May I be Your agent of grace to all around me, pointing and drawing them to You, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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