Isn’t it something how … you change one word, just one small word, simply change just one preposition to something else and an entire emotion can instantly be colored with bright hues of renewed hope?
You see, I was told lately that there is this particular season of life that I’m in. And maybe because of how that message was delivered, it landed heavy…seemed weighty emotionally. I thought to myself, “I’m in this. I’m in this season of life. I’m all in.” But it felt more like, “It’s got me. It’s got a hold on me.”
But then, as usual … my Bible said this to me:
“Behold, I will allure you and draw you to the wilderness (or desert) and there I will speak kindly to you.” Hosea 2:14
Draw you to the wilderness? Speak kindly to you? As I read those words, it all sounded so intimate. So tender. Like there was this message of compassion waiting for me, a very caring conversation found there …
there in the desert.
And then these two verses followed,
“When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” Isaiah 43:2-3
There it was! There was the one word that changed everything. The one preposition that touched my emotions so deeply that my entire mindset changed and so did my behavior.
That one word is ….
I am not “in” this season of life, I am passing THROUGH! I am with my Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, my Savior, and we are together passing through waters, through rivers, through fires. And it’s all because there is this place, this “desert” mind you, that my Lord God is alluring me to so that He can speak kindly, most tenderly to me.
But it doesn’t stop there.
He also told me,
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine, according to His power ….”.
I know, there is more to that verse, but when I read it, it was right there where I placed my focus for just a moment.
According to His power.
What that is actually saying is this – “according to His decisions.”
Because His power is simply the display of how HE has already decided. His power is the display of His decisions. How HE has made a decision … to heal, to provide, to comfort, to lead, to help, to care, to supply. Every decision, every single one of His decisions has fruit. Has a result. Has a something that affects a someone. How do I know this? Because He is a relational God. So when He says in Ephesians 3:20 that He is able to do immeasurably more than any of us can ask or even conjure up in our minds, “according to His power…” that means … we can’t even begin to fathom the decisions HE has made concerning our life.
“According to His power…” is according to His decisions!
And that will mean that there will be those times when He will call us to the desert so we can experience those decisions…as intimate and tender and alluring to His own heart as they are!
Read what Isaiah 26:7-9 says in the Message Bible:
“The Leveler evens the road for the right-living. We’re in no hurry, God. We’re content to linger in the path sign-posted with your decisions. Who you are and what you’ve done are all we’ll ever want. Through the night my soul longs for you. Deep from within me my spirit reaches out to you. When your decisions are on public display, everyone learns how to live right.” Isaiah 26:7-9 (The Message)
“When your decisions are on public display?” …. how? How can we display His power? His decisions?
We find the answer when we finish reading Ephesians 3:20…
“according to His power that is at work WITHIN ME.”
WOE! So this power, these decisions of His are AT WORK. They are working all things for His glory and my good. These decisions of my God are WORKING all things out all the time AS He and I, together, pass through these waters, rivers and fires.
And it’s all at work WITHIN ME.
What does that mean?
It means His power, His decisions, WILL manifest from 2 very visible areas of my life –
Trust and Obedience
Stay with me, ok….but those are the two ways we display His decisions.
When we do not fret, but trust and obey while passing through.
When we do not give in to worry, but trust and obey while passing through.
When we do not fear, but trust and obey while passing through.
When we do not take matters into my own hands, but trust and obey while passing through.
When we trust Him 100% and show that by living in obedience of what ONLY His decisions can do….which are immeasurably more than we can ask or impinge…..then y’all….
The time in the desert with the One who whispers tenderly to our heart is a most celebrated time of our life!!
John Piper wrote about Hosea 2:14-
We are all guilty of harlotry. We have loved other lovers more than God. We have gotten our kicks elsewhere. He has been at times an annoying deity. We, like Gomer, were enslaved to a paramour, the world, pleasure, ambition. But God has not cast us off. He promises to take us into the wilderness. He wants to be alone with us. Why? So that he can speak tenderly to us. Literally, the Hebrew says, so that he can speak “to her heart.” And when he speaks, he will allure you. He will entice you and woo you. He will say what a lover says to his lady when they walk away from the party into the garden. God wants to talk that way with you. Go with him into the wilderness and listen with your heart. Do not think you are too ugly or too rotten. He knows that his wife is a harlot. That’s the meaning of mercy: God is wooing a wife of harlotry.
So, I’m taking off my shoes this morning because this desert is now the most wonderful …