We kill ourselves to get to retirement
While true rest beckons
We strive and strive to subdue the guilt we feel inside
But repentance is our only hope for change
We take pride in the loudness of our voice
Forgetting that quietness is our weapon of true strength
We exalt self-reliance
And inside we long for someone to trust
In Jesus we find the rest, the repentance, the quietness and the trust that all of our hearts are searching for.
I wrote this in my journal the other day in response to a verse I came across that I’m not sure I’ve ever read before:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” -Isaiah 30:15
The verse is actually written to the Jews who, at the time, had entrusted themselves to the power of Egypt instead of entrusting themselves to their God. This verse is spoken by Isaiah as a warning to the Jewish people to turn back to God because the very power they were entrusting themselves to would be their demise. The King James version of this verse actually says “In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength…”. Matthew Henry’s commentary on this section of scripture expands on the context of it:
“The Jews were the only professing people God then had in the world, yet many among them were rebellious. They had the light, but they loved darkness rather. The prophets checked them in their sinful pursuits, so that they could not proceed without fear; this they took amiss…. But as they despised the word of God, their sins undermined their safety. Their state would be dashed in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Let us return from our evil ways, and settle in the way of duty; that is the way to be saved. Would we be strengthened, it must be in quietness and in confidence, keeping peace in our own minds, and relying upon God. They think themselves wiser than God; but the project by which they thought to save themselves was their ruin. Only here and there one shall escape, as a warning to others. If men will not repent, turn to God, and seek happiness in his favour and service, their desires will but hasten their ruin. Those who make God alone their confidence, will have comfort. God ever waits to be gracious to all that come to him by faith in Christ, and happy are those who wait for him.”
As I read this I think, “this is me…this is us…this is America.” How many great powers we have entrusted ourselves to that end up becoming a snare to us in the end. If our hope is in anything/anyone other than Jesus, that thing/that person will become to us in the end, our demise. All idols lure us with big promises, but leave us still wanting. But still we strive, while rest beckons. How do we enter into that rest in a society in turmoil over so many issues? How can a deep, abiding confidence fill our hearts despite which politician is elected to lead our nation? Only when we turn our eyes to Jesus.
And it is Jesus that commands us “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matt 6:34. How can He command this, how can He expect this of us? Because He bore the weight of our worry when He bled on the cross. He felt exactly what we feel as He hung there for us – the entire weight of it was put on Him and His sacrifice dealt with it completely. So we can heed His command because He speaks it with authority, as the only One who knows exactly the anxieties we are tempted to give in to. We can choose them or we can choose Him. What hope we have in that choice! But the choice is up to us each day.
I have faced this choice in technicolor this past week when I was almost wheeled in for an emergency c-section. The ups and downs my husband and I went through in a week’s time, confronted us with the choice we had to entrust ourselves to our anxieties of the unknown outcome for our little boy -or- to entrust ourselves to the One we believe is the Creator of his life. It became very clear that there really are only two choices we have when trial enters our lives. We make all sorts of excuses to validate our right to give into anxious thoughts and we spin our wheels and waste our energy in our attempts to control the situation or make it somehow more manageable. But only in releasing that control to Jesus and knowing that Samuel is safe in His care, do we experience the rest that God has for us. That rest can only be accessed through faith. I am so grateful that God doesn’t leave me alone in one hot mess of my own anxieties but that He provides a way out of them through Jesus. Because of this, the trials of life become much sweeter experiences and joy walks hand-in-hand with pain.