“Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.”
– Isaiah 32:16-18
I feel a few things when I read these words. The first being excitement at the idea of justice dwelling “in the wilderness.” If this world is anything, it’s a wilderness. And of all the awful things that take place in this wilderness, such rampant injustice is among the worst. It seems like evil and injustice are stealing peace, love, and joy from innocent people at every turn and this troubles me perhaps more than anything else. Often enough, the only idea that brings me consolation is that justice and righteousness will, one day, overcome this deeply twisted world.
The other day, I was having a conversation with God about some issues I currently face. These issues directly effect my life and future, but I have not been allowed any control or influence over them. No amount of action (or inaction) makes any difference at all, which leaves me feeling wildly fearful and out of control. After expressing these fears and frustrations to God, I asked what He wanted me to do and the only two words I felt in my spirit were the exact words I don’t know how to implement. Those words were “hide” [in Him, not from life] and “rest.”
::sigh:: Of all the times rest may seem like a reasonable achievement, the current circumstances really aren’t one of them. The future looks shrouded in darkness and every moment is riddled with anxiety. It’s not exactly the kind of circumstance where I would naturally think, “Yeah, let’s take a break and rest!” Quite the opposite, actually. And yet…God did not stutter. In fact, the words rang in my spirit so loudly they may as well have been audible.
So now, I struggle. “Hiding” and “resting” during a season that feels so dark and out of control is the exact opposite of natural, but then again, a lot of Jesus’ instructions are. The first will be last, the poor will be blessed, and to lead we must serve. Remember when Jesus called Peter out of the “safe” boat and onto the very unsafe crashing waves? There was a storm on the sea and there Jesus is, walking on the water and beckoning Peter to come hang out with him. You know…like, no big deal. Peter begins in faith but as soon as he looks around and gets scared, he started to sink. Imagine the panic he must have felt at THAT moment. Yet Jesus says to him, “Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt?”
My natural mind thinks, “Really, Jesus? You told a guy to climb out of a boat in the middle of a stormy sea and told him to walk on the water. He freaks out and you’re chastising him?” But then the Spirit answers, “yes”. I understand. Our safety, peace, and rest is not found in calm waters. It is found in our faith in and obedience to Jesus.
So I’m sitting here pondering all this. That maybe we aren’t meant to experience peace, quietness, trust, security, or rest in the way we think we should. Meaning, as part of this broken world. Jesus directly said the world would be trouble, after all. Maybe Christ, and “hiding” in Him, IS the only place we experience safety and rest – even while the world rages on around us.
Lord, I’m sorry for my lack of faith. I’m sorry for fearing the storms of life more than having faith that you are bigger and in control. Forgive my doubt and unbelief and give me the grace to hide and rest in you alone. Amen.