God’s Encouragement; October 23, 2022

Isaiah 35:3-4 Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”

Multiple songs have been made from this chapter, including from this part. God only knows how many multiple thousands of believers down through the centuries have been encouraged by these words. The thing is, we need such words of comfort and encouragement in every generation. As Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble!” (John 16:33) We are constantly reminded that we can’t make it on our own, so we also need to be reminded that, as Paul said, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) If we are focused on ourselves, we have every reason for despair. If we are focused on God, we have every reason for optimism and joy. We may not see God’s hand in our immediate circumstances, but He is there nonetheless. As the Imperials sang years ago, “He didn’t bring us this far to leave us.” If we want God’s power to flow through us, we need to stay focused on and open to Him. When we focus on ourselves and our situation, we cut ourselves off from Him.

The thing that caught my attention about this particular part just now was the reference to feeble hands and knees that give way, because of my wife’s condition after her back surgery. Knees giving way is a major issue for her right now! The reference to “fearful hearts” (the Japanese says, “hearts in turmoil”) speaks to both of us right now. I woke up this morning around 3:30 to go to the bathroom, and before I could get back to sleep the scheduled events for the rest of the year, starting with today, crowded into my mind, and in no time my heart was indeed in turmoil. I now know why a particular song was running through my heart and mind most of the day yesterday. “I don’t know about tomorrow; I just live from day to day…. For I know Who holds the future, and I know Who holds my hand.” I just had a text from my wife indicating that she had another rough night, and they will be doing tests this morning, despite it being Sunday, to try to determine the specific source of her pain. We have every reason to keep reminding ourselves, and each other, of Paul’s words: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) The thing is, subjectively those troubles don’t seem so light and momentary when we’re in the middle of them! We are in training to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Father, thank You for how much of Your Word is indeed in my heart and mind, so that it is easy for Your Spirit to bring it up as called for. Thank You also for the songs You have given believers down through the years, and for how many of those are likewise in my heart and mind. Help me make full and appropriate use of the resources You have already provided, so that Your will may indeed be done on Your schedule for 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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