“This season is very revealing…” This has been my sentiment as we continue through 2020 full of her pandemic and racial tension. When shaking happens, things are uncovered and our deepest hopes, bias, and perspectives are revealed. This has been a significant reality in the church and while it does not make for the easiest relationships or partnerships, it is good.
I brought this reflection to my reading this morning and Isaiah 48’s recounting of the refining of Israel. It is essentially God retelling the ways he has used circumstance to chisel away at the hearts of his people. To reveal their disobedience and to show the way of trusting his will and way. “Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;” Isaiah 48:18
There was hope for them still and it was in recounting the faithfulness of God.
“Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it out to the end of the earth; say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
“They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and the water gushed out.” Isaiah 48:20-21
I was talking to a few pastors just yesterday and they mentioned the “battle weariness” of this season of ministry and I can relate. Simple things are not simple anymore and rapid transformation in the church is not only exhausting, it is like the fires have been set to be quite a bit hotter.
Yet we, like Israel, can recount the faithfulness of God in the midst of the refining. We can return to him in repentance and reliance on his grace and power. We can live “hydrated” by his Spirit as we, ministers and the rest of us, persevere through the unknown of tomorrow.
Some of us need to take some breaks; get off of social media and replace the time with Scripture. Some of us need to have more real conversations where gospel reminder is the end point. Some of us need to keep being bold where voices have been absent. And some of us just need to get away, to a place of solitude to be with the Father.
All along the way my prayer is that we would look back on this year and say we did not thirst as we journeyed through this desert, that the Lord’s provision was gushing out. Will you pray that with me?