How many Christians know Isaiah 40, or at least parts of it, without even having to look it up?
This part especially:
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Appears in how many of our worship and praise songs. Especially the eagles part. We like that.
There’s some other stuff that had not caught my eye or my heart until today, that I think bears reading again (and again and again) if you are a mother.
It’s scary to be a mother. I work 90 minutes away from my children and I have recently realized this is not by accident – yes of course I took the job because I was 100% certain this is where God was sending me, although I have no idea why. Partly, now I see, is that I’ve been very controlling and anxious over my children’s safety. They are small. Yet where was I when he hung the stars? What can I do, even in the same room, to keep them safe? Read Job once and you realize – nothing.
So that means I have to trust, which is an ongoing and recurring thing in my mama heart, and I’m learning so painfully slowly. But I am learning. I don’t have to and I should not feel that I must keep those babies safe. Do you know what is convincing me of this more than any other day? Look at this:
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
That’s the NIV translation. My children are carried in his arms, close to his heart. That is a safer place than I could ever give them. I have been reminding myself, almost daily, that I am a stewared of these little lives that I love so much, but they are not my possessions. They are HIS and that is how they will grow and thrive. He has plans to prosper them, to give them a future and a hope. Plans to prosper them and not harm them.
Just yesterday I began to talk to my oldest about warfare. She’s the one in the middle of the custody drama, and I have see the way Satan is answering my total trust in God for our custody battle. He is attacking her. Mean things have been coming out of her mouth, about herself and about others, that I know are not from her heart.
So I sat her down – after disciplining her for very loud, yelling back-talk – and asked her about her thoughts. She insisted they were her own. So I explained to her – our enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. Part of destroy is all the filthy lies that try to teach us we are not talented, we are fat, we are bad, we are incapable and unworthy. Already my precious baby has felt the “slings and arrows”, the fiery darts.
She really did not know Satan could invade her pretty little head with lies that sound like her voice. You know what, at her age, I did not either and that accounts for a lot of pain.
The other Good News for Mamas is the last bit, that He gently leads those with young.
How vulnerable are we when we are so attached, so utterly amazed with our wonderful children and so terrified for their safety and well-being. How much we need wisdom and discernment, not just for them but for ourselves. We will be led, and it will be gently. Awesome! I’m such a rebel in my flesh, that settled right over me light a snuggly blanket and I thought, wonderful, I need all the wisdom and help I can get and feeding it to me gently will make sure I receive it too.
For people like me who were not raised in a particularly Evangelical or Charismatic church, the idea of warfare and battling it out is pretty radical. So I’m a newbie. But that made me notice this part too:
2 “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the Lord’s hand
Double for all her sins.”
When I see “her” in a passage that God has called to my attention repeatedly (this chapter in Isaiah showed up in not one but three different places the last two days, I think I’m supposed to be looking here!) it makes me take notice. This is the NKJV (the NIV has “hard service” for warfare and that is pretty interesting to think about too).
Notice it says “is ended”. Not “will be”, not “might be”. This not hang in there and see what happens. This is rest, trust – your battle is done. I know I have one more week of court in July, so my battle still lies in part a head of me – so my reading of this is more about what God also said to Jehosephat (and directed me to last time we were heading to court).
12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
13 Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the Lord.
They were about to be attacked by a much stronger enemy, and Jehosephat wisely remembered the promise from God, that He would defend and protect his people if they turned to Him, so that is precisely what Jehosephat did – no panic, no stress, just cry out to God for help. Notice it’s not just the warriors in the line of fire, it is all the people including their precious children. And here is what God told him:
“Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
That’s what I think this passage means for us as well. The battle is not ours, but God’s. That idea of being thankful for the victory before the actual fray. If God is battling for you, is there really any question about the outcome?
So if God is protecting your children, it is time to trust. Even when you have to battle whatever is troubling you – trust and understand. He is your strength, your helper and your glorious sword and he will make your enemies flee – you will trample on their high places.
I think I have been guilty of discounting this in my own life, worried my choices in my first marriage would mean I somehow got left out of the battle help and other good things. But right there it is, God is over it and I should be too, and it is really well and truly time to trust.