It’s rare on this earth to see a hand slapped in rejection, still reaching out to offer help. It’s the teacher who keeps trying to reach a disrespectful student. Or the husband who keeps offering to go to counseling with a wife who has a roaming eye. Or the police officer who stands to serve and protect the very citizens who call him hateful names. It’s the heart that keeps on trying to rescue the hurting, motivated by love and encouraged by hope and patience.
“But His hand is stretched out still” (Isa. 5:25). God is waiting patiently to rescue the perishing. What about the people who have mistreated you in their brokenness? Is your heart still open to help them find the Lord?
Here it comes like clockwork: Sigh. Cue the eye roll. And now the question: “Mom, why can’t you run these errands before you pick us up from school so we don’t have to do all this stuff?” My son loathes trips to the post office, grocery shopping, the bank drive thru, and the like. Getting home and out in the yard is his priority, and he doesn’t want to participate in or even know about the little things that we parents do to keep the household running smoothly, even though these bothersome errands are helping to keep his belly fed and a roof over his head.
In Isaiah 5:11-12, God condemns the dangerous lifestyle of those who pursue the party lifestyle, booze and music: “But they do not regard the work of the LORD, nor consider the operation of His hands.” Maybe you have drifted into that party scene, or perhaps your life is rather tame compared to some; the real question is, are you living for your daily preferences, or bowing the knee to God’s direction in your life? Living for Christ isn’t exactly a party, but He blesses us as He directs our path. His works are excellent and His hands are mighty to bless and protect.
My friend and I were texting about getting together to exercise. She said, “This weather makes me want to walk!” I was in complete agreement. There’s something about these warm, sunny days that makes me long to go outside and take a walk, brisk or leisurely, just to feel the warmth of the sun on my face.
God invites us, “Come and let us walk in the light of the LORD” (Isa. 2:5). It sounds delightful. His light is bright and pure, life-giving and nurturing, warm and inviting. And it’s meant to be enjoyed in fellowship with other believers. Grab your sneaks and take a walk with a friend, walking in the light of Jesus!
As my daughter stood beside me at the ironing board, I felt a wave of panic. I was teaching her to iron for the first time, and part of me could not believe I was about to hand over to my daughter one of the very things I had been protecting her from all of her young life, a tool of possible danger! I did my best to explain the art of ironing, step by step. First we did t-shirts, then collared shirts, and last pants. As I stood back and watched her iron, I had to admit that I was not the best teacher. My mother is a master ironer, and I just do the best I can. At that moment I felt like a cheap copy of my mom.
No matter how good of a pastor, parent, mentor, or teacher you have in your life, no one can teach you to live as a Christian as masterfully as God can. The prophet Isaiah promised that one day, “He will teach us His ways” (Isa. 2:3), and that’s good news because He is teaching His ways. God uses people in our lives to instruct and guide us, but no one can serve as a substitute for the instruction we need to receive directly from God. Are you relying too heavily on others to feed your soul? Go directly to God and keep nurturing your personal relationship with Him.
Our son is interested in visual art. We’ve placed him in private lessons, and provided various materials for him to use at home. This week I let him borrow my own personal sketch book and challenged him to sketch something totally out of the box. When I returned a little later, I could not believe how angry I was when I saw what he had done. About a year ago I did what was probably my best sketch of three monkeys, and my son had traced over that sketch and added his own markings. My personal creation was no longer visible. He had taken my work, made it his own, and added his own flavor.
As quickly as I was angry, I realized I should be excited. He admired my work, and he attempted to learn from it by following in my footsteps, then adding his personality to this work of art. Isn’t that what parenting is about?
Throughout Deuteronomy, God instructs, “Teach the children.” We teach with words, but our examples before their eyes testify of what we truly believe. Our children will trace our attitudes, words, and deeds.
I like making decisions, but sometimes the weight of the decision is more than I want to handle. I gladly look to someone more experienced than me to have the final say. I’m glad for people in authority who can make the tough calls, knowing they know more than me and also that they’re willing to take responsibility for the consequences of the decision. So when the Scripture says, The mouth of the LORD has spoken (Isaiah 1:20), I feel a sense of relief. I also feel a great honor and respect for the God who can handle every decision in my life. What He says He will do. What God wills is going to come pass.
What are you willing to do?
My son was willing to obey my instruction to put his basketball in the box in my garage, and pretty quickly said, “Yes, ma’am,” that seemed like a good idea. But when I went inside and he kept playing, he never got around to putting that ball where it belonged. Consequently, when the ball rolled under my car tire and I ran over it later in the day, well…his willing heart could not fix a busted basketball.
It takes courage to be willing to do what’s right, but actually, it’s not nearly enough. God warns, “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword” (Isaiah 1:19-20). IF we’re willing, AND obedient, God’s blessings will abound.
I can’t feed the world. I can’t topple an evil regime. I can’t heal the sick. But I can make a difference, and God expects me to. God has said, “Seek justice” (Isaiah 1:17). Very to the point.
How has God shaped your heart to seek justice? Every heart is shaped a little differently by God’s hands. For me, God has called me to combat human trafficking by seeking the wellbeing of women and young girls in Bangladesh. Seeking. It requires being proactive to take action. The hurting of this world don’t need us to agree with justice; they need our prayers, our help, our action.
Check out how you can seek justice for women in Bangladesh at http://bffministry.wix.com/bffministry.