Friday, October 28, 2016

Quiet Heart

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it” (Isaiah 30:15).
The Prophet Isaiah is talking about the stubborn Israelites, who would not listen to him or God. A prophet is a “God Speaker,” not speaking for self. They wanted to buy Egypt’s protection against their enemies.  They did not want to remember God’s faithfulness. They did not want to wait on the Lord. They would not believe that the battle was the Lord’s as he had told them. No like countless others, including Abraham and Jacob, and Frank Sinatra, they wanted to do it their way. Well, judgment would come.

We are a nation that does it our way, the “rugged individualist.”  That philosophy does not work in the long run. I know that many of you believe that you are “self-made men or women.”   News flash- there is no such thing!
“ Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). We have a Creator and ever-present God of the universe. James has just completed his teaching about trials and how they develop our perseverance or steadfastness.  Trials make us mature and complete lacking nothing.  I know many do not believe that. TV after all tells us to try their products and that we should have every good thing that man can provide, because we deserve it, right? We want to get out from under the trial, run from it.

The Israelite’s story again and again tells of a stubborn and stiff-necked people, who would not trust God for their deliverance, regardless of the Red Sea and manna. The opening verse speaks of how we are to deal with trials and life. We are to repent of our selfish ways and be quiet. We are to rest in God’s provision. But we say today, “I’ve got this.” That is a fatal mistake. In this rich country, we are skeptical of God because we have so much we have "earned." The truth is that it is all from God; you did not earn any of it. God allowed it. He has given you gifts and strengths that have allowed you to work. It is not about you!

I recall a time when I thought I was pretty hot stuff. I had taken a bankrupt hospital to one that was rolling in profits, providing essential services to a 100-mile circle of rural America. Although the jobs of some 250 people were eliminated, the hospital was kept open. My pride caused me to fall. Remember, trials fall on us. I started drinking and other not moral things. I lost my job eventually. I was not a Christian at the time, but I knew right from wrong. Perhaps I believed Satan’s lies. He is real you know?

My life looked like an EKG strip, up and down, good and not so good. Every two years I ran or switched jobs or caused some disaster. God was trying to reach me/teach me, but I was not interested.

It was in a blinding blizzard on the shores of Lake Superior in the middle of the night that God spoke and brought me to me knees. I confessed my sin and received His grace and mercy. It was a long walk out of the wilderness to find rest and quietness, years actually.  I told you in a separate post how God spoke to me audibly from the next verse in Isaiah 30:21, “This is the way, walk in it.” This was my true conversion, like Saul’s Damascus Road experience with Jesus. I floundered for a while, but I knew that life would not be the same.

Yes, I have had trials, but my EKG strip is stable and the amplitude is corrected. Cardiologists tell me that I have a T-wave problem, but don’t we all have sin in our lives. That does not excuse it, it just says trust God and rest in His salvation with a quiet heart.

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