1 According to Universe Today – January 28, 2009: http://www.universetoday.com/24328/how-many-stars/
Passage: Isaiah 55:8-13
“ ‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” V.8 (NLT)
As he pulls a chair to sit beside me, his somber voice reflects the emotions clearly seen on his face. He has received an answer for something we’ve been long waiting for. Something that affects our family’s plans and dreams. Something he and I have been praying for and patiently waiting. A promise has not been kept. I see the disappointment in his beautiful eyes. Disheartened, he pours out words that I have heard from myself many times before: “I know God has a purpose for this. I’m just upset right now.”
I prayfully ask God for wisdom. His wisdom, not mine. And so He says: “look down.” As I lower my eyes, I “see” God’s voice, underlined and highlighted on my open Bible on the table: “My ways are far beyond what you can imagine.” I should have known the outcome, for God gave me this passage about three weeks ago to prepare my new study.
How many times have you muttered under your breath: ‘I don’t understand it, Lord.’ How many times have you laid down at night, wondering – ‘what am I doing wrong?’ How often do you hear yourself saying: ‘why me, God?’ If you are alive and breathing, I know you have asked these questions before. You may have done so even today. So, although I don’t have the answers to all your questions, I want to share with you an interesting concept that God laid in my heart. It’s pretty amusing, yet true: we are all grasshoppers. That’s right, grasshoppers. I didn’t say it – God did. I’m a visualist, so please bear with me.
On Isaiah 40, one of my favorite passages in the Bible (and inspiration for this ministry’s name), the prophet reads Israel’s rebellious and doubtful hearts. He promises once more His victory to Zion. In this prophetic passage, which depicts the coming of the Messiah with a mighty arm and victory, God’s messenger sees past the surface of our faith and into the depths of our hearts. We doubt. We simply doubt the wisdom, power, strength and unfailing love of our God. We just do it. I do it. You do it. We see our dreams tumbling down at our feet and we lose heart. Someone wrongs us and we quickly wish to take matters into our own hands. We receive bad news and we despair. All the while, God is “sitting above the circle of the earth” and He sees us, hopping around. Grasshoppers (v.22). In the meanwhile, He “stretches the Heavens like a curtain”, “reduces rulers to nothing” (v.23), “calls each star by name…and does not miss a single one, naming all 10 sextillion (and counting) of them1 . Our brains know that – we read our Bibles. Regardless, we keep on hopping. Grasshoppers.
Do we really grasp God’s love? Do we understand that “He (does indeed) work all things together for our good” (Rom 8:28). Can we see God, sitting above it all, seeing past our present and into our future – what was and is and is to come. Can we see the great Maestro, conducting the magnificent orchestra of our lives, comprised of instruments of all types, some carrying a beautiful tune, some pounding annoying and loud beats, all disconnected when played separately, but making a divine melody when He conducts them according to His perfectly composed sheet.
Do we grasp God’s love and grace? Perfect love displayed on blood-stained stretched arms on the tree. Do we? I dare say – we really don’t. Not with our hearts, at least. I believe that if we did, we would see life’s trials in a different way and would react to them with steadfast faith. I believe this is indeed one of the most important lessons to be learned by God’s children: to be able to reach a place where circumstances will not alter how we see God, His love and grace. He does not move. Our circumstances and we do.
The reaction of all humankind is the same. We hurt – we scream. We get scared – we doubt. That is our natural response; however we should not accept this as our permanent response. We must be willing to mature and go past our natural response to our circumstances and search God’s heart to find His peace. Grace is free, His love unconditional, His Word filled with treasures to help us wait for His timing and trust Him.
His Word is as Good as He is:
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11 – emphasis added)
Man is ever quick to promise and slow to perform. We all have been promised things that never come to pass, from the temporary unconditional “I do’s” that end in divorce to job promotions that never happen. We are so wrapped in man’s natural type of thinking and acting that we forget, that although men are created in God’s image, we cannot compare His faithfulness in fulfilling what He promises to ours. God is like, yet unlike man. We are indeed but faint copies of Him and He is altogether better than we. His Word (and therefore His promises), will accomplish His perfect will for our lives.
There is only one requirement that needs to be fulfilled:
Stand in the Center of God’s Will
“And we know that [b]God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NASB – emphasis added)
The only “if” on Romans 8:28 and other scriptures which give us security of God’s steadfast faithfulness is whether or not we love Him and are following Him – His instructions and His directions. If you can honestly assess your life and, to the best of your ability and honesty, you can say that you are His follower, not just His child, you can then rest in the fact that He is working on your behalf, even if your world is seemingly falling apart. However; if you are living in deliberate rebellion, you won’t be able to honestly claim Romans 8:28. If that is your case, then, yes, you should really be hopping and fretting, for God cannot dwell in darkness and cannot speak to you unless you are near Him. As God sits above the circle of the earth and looks at your life, He cannot show you the next step in His perfect path unless He has your full attention.
Finding Peace in the Midst of the Storm
Oh, that we may reach a place in our journey with Christ, where we are so enamored by His grace, so in tune with His plan, that our hopping around won’t last long when trials strike. That we may be quick to remember who He is and Who is for us. In the meantime, let me suggest some anchoring truths, places where we can seek refuge – like the eye of a hurricane – where perfect stillness reigns in the midst of our storms. Allow me to call these “Isaiah’s Oasis” as they offer true rest in the desert and are all located in my favorite book of the Old Testament.
1) When someone comes against you – remember: He is your defender:
“I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge and makes the weapons of destruction. And I have created the armies that destroy.
But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me.
I, the Lord, have spoken!” Isaiah 54:16-17 (NLT – emphasis added)
2) When your dreams are shattered – remember – He sees what you cannot see and His wisdom surpasses our earthly understanding:
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and marked off the heavens by the span,
And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, and weighed the mountains in a balance and the hills in a pair of scales? Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has informed Him?” (Isaiah 40:12-13 (NASB)
3) And when you are tired of waiting on your promise or on your trial to be over – remember – He never becomes weary and is working on your behalf. All you have to do is stretch your wings and let Him be the wind beneath them:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:28-31 (NASB)
So here is to us, grasshoppers:
STAND STILL… AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD. (Psalm 46:10)