When I read these verses, I don’t think of Cyrus the Great and a massive empire. I think of a farm field that shines golden from a sunburst through the clouds; I think of a flock of birds in flight–that look like a sheet shaken in the wind; I think of a woman who’d gotten bit by a dog in front of a (former) house whose knock at my door brought a word of encouragement from God; I think of a good cup of coffee and socks on my feet.
3 And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—
I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. Isaiah 45:3 NLT
I didn’t know how people could thank God for trials that came their way–not when it felt crushing and oppressive … not when the waiting was accompanied by doubt and a growing depression … or when it seemed the bottom dropped out in a numbing free fall. I didn’t know how to thank God for that. But I sought him daily, for any sign that he was there–and it was the closest I had ever walked with him. Each of these little things, gratitude in the every day, secret riches–treasures hidden in darkness.
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
7 I create the light and make the darkness.
I send good times and bad times.
I, the Lord, am the one who does these things. Isaiah 45:6b-7 NLT
I would understand what it meant to be hated. What it meant to be powerless. What it meant to be lonely. What it meant to be mocked. What it meant to surrender. What it meant to persevere. And how would I learn any of that in only good times? I would learn how to walk by faith, to trust in God, to hope. And in my weakness, he would reveal power.
9 “What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
Does the pot exclaim,
‘How clumsy can you be?’
10 How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father,
‘Why was I born?’
or if it said to its mother,
‘Why did you make me this way?’”
11 This is what the Lord says—
the Holy One of Israel and your Creator:
“Do you question what I do for my children?
Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?
12 I am the one who made the earth
and created people to live on it.
With my hands I stretched out the heavens.
All the stars are at my command.
I am years away from that time. Healing didn’t come overnight, but rather as a result of painful steps forward in a spiritual rehab. I am still (and often) thankful for a good cup of coffee and socks on my feet. And while it took time, I learned to be grateful for the trial.
Father God, those dark days were full of you. I am closer to you and know you in such a personal way, that I otherwise wouldn’t. Your word comes to life to me in ways that go deep. I am so thankful.