Post #30 for Oct. 16
Have you ever needed a second chance? I did. In 1981, I would not wait for God to handle my situation his way. I didn’t realize at the time that I was rebellious; I believed God was leading me. But I later learned a holy God will not lead us to a path that is clearly revealed in Scripture to be contrary to his will. It is frightening how the human mind can rationalize. I see now that I was looking to humans instead of to God to meet my needs for love and security. As a result, I suffered adversity.
Yet, God “longs to be gracious…to show you compassion,”(Isaiah 30;18 NIV). This astounded me…that he would still want me after I failed him!
When I repented in 1982 and learned to put my trust in the Lord (i.e. “rested” in him), then God became to me an intimate, loving Father, (whereas I used to think of him as a far off Creator not much concerned with my personal life). I began to experience the truth of God’s grace and guidance. I knew he’d heard my weeping and cries for help and would answer me.
Throughout the adversity and affliction I experienced as a result of my sin, he taught me who He is. I was intrigued and comforted by the phrase, “your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes will see your Teacher,” (20b, RSV). I understood this to refer to The Teacher and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I rejoiced that he would teach me how to walk in his ways, like a mentor who really cares for his pupil. He would no longer ‘hide’ from me but I would know him personally.
My Teacher taught me through private Bible Study, especially of Psalms and Isaiah, and through a church I’d joined in 1982. These 100 members seemed so filled with the love of Jesus Christ! In the worship services I felt transported into the throne room of God.
Once, as the worship leader prayed, quoted Scripture and led the worshipful songs, I imagined Jesus picking me up tenderly as if I were an emotionally damaged child, carrying me across the threshold of the Holy of Holies, and placing me in our loving Father’s lap. That was a big step of healing for me. I couldn’t remember my earthly father ever holding me on his lap, and I’d felt such a distance and coldness from God as Father. But I knew Jesus loved me enough to die for me. I remembered then that Jesus had also said, “the Father himself loves you,” (John 16:27). Feeling my heavenly Father hold me on his lap, I began to trust his love, to depend on him.
Members of this church met in home meetings for prayer and Bible study. People laid their hands on me and prayed like I’d never heard before. As they prayed scripture, I felt like God was speaking directly to my hurting heart. They prayed like they were talking to their best friend and knew he would answer according to what is best. They prayed like they truly cared about me. I began to believe God really loved me and wanted me to be happy.
How grateful I am for God’s messages of mercy! Judgment is not God’s last word for those who repent. He is a God of justice, but he’s also a merciful God who loves to bring us back into his heart and restore to us all that Satan has robbed from us. As the commentator Oswalt says, “Isaiah presents the picture of the Creator of the universe patiently standing, waiting for us to discover what fools we have been and to turn back to him to receive the grace and compassion that are in his fatherly heart,” (346).
When we turn to trusting in and depending on God to supply our naeeds, delighting in his love and returning that love, we are more able to receive and appreciate the blessings God wants to give us. (cf. Psalms 37:4, Romans 5:3-5, and Romans 8:28) .
by Judith Vander Wege
The below song emphasizes that God, our Father, loves each of us.
John N. Oswalt. The NIV Application Commentary on Isaiah. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI. 2003