18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
and the parched ground into springs.
19 I will put in the desert
the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress together,
20 so that people may see and know,
may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it. Isaiah 41 ESV
My heart yearns with the recognition that in my life there can be a work of the Lord solely His- that can enable others to see His witness and rejoice. My heart is parched and dry, and this beautiful picture of the restoring life and beauty in the Lord renews my soul. At varied times, I have experienced this beautiful work of God that is His hand alone… I crave this, Lord. Open my eyes, Lord, and help my heart walk in tune with You.
16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42 ESV
I have felt blinded in some circumstances in my life. My path is unfamiliar, uncharted, at times rocky and hard- this is promise for me. You, Lord, are guiding me on all these unfamiliar paths; turning my darkness into light; making all the rough places smooth; darkness is as light with You.
Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
he cannot save himself, or say,
“Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”
21 “Remember these things, Jacob,
for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant;
Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.” 44 ESV
The taste of the world is ashes; delusion; and falsehood. The blindness and trickery of it all speaks to me. I picture myself shining in the sun, mist and cloud blown and burnt away- the promises in Christ are mine. Forgiveness, life, and restoration. Freedom. Redemption. But I think about how easy it is to be the one foolishly eating ashes with a deluded, misleading heart.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. Phil 2 ESV
I think about how often I struggle against work; how the Lord calls me to live above the grumblings, mutterings, dramatic turnings of my flesh. My mind so easily proffering a narrative that doesn’t even exist. My heart so easily entangled in hurt that should be irrelevant to me. I ponder what it means to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. I ponder what it means that the Lord is at work in me both to will and to work for His good pleasure. I ponder what it means to hold fast to the word of life.
Lord, help me to treasure Scripture; help me to live a life that treasures You.
Let me know Your strong work in my heart and life. Let my life bear witness to Your goodness and mighty work. I pray for springs in my desert, straight paths in a dark and unknown way, a deep recognition that I am known and loved in You, the freedom and peace from the lightness of a forgiven heart. Be with me, Lord, and help me to be with You. Amen.