Saturday, March 10, 2012

God's Promises in the Desert

"Trust...does not mean hoping for the absence of pain but believing in the purpose of pain.  After all, if my almighty God is really almighty and my heavenly Father is really fatherly, then I should trust that he can and will do what is good for me in this sad world."
~Kevin DeYoung

The Good News We Almost Forgot 

I've been contemplating these words because I do find it very difficult to trust.  A friend told me she has outright told God, "I don't believe you are working for my good."  Gut-level honesty.

I've been contemplating what it means to be "in Christ" and the marriage themes throughout the Bible.  I confess and repent that in my heart I have falsely accused God of having wandering eyes, of not really looking out for us, not really helping us.  But we are his temple that he has consecrated and put his Name there forever.
My eyes and my heart will always be there. 
~1 Kings 9:3
(emphasis mine--and if this was true for the temple built by human hands, how much more for the temple he has made?!).  He has never been the adulterous one, though our eyes have wandered.  His promises are sure and true.  They are as wedding vows:
They will be my people, and I will be their God.
I will make an everlasting covenant with them:
I will never stop doing good to them, 
and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.
I will rejoice in doing them good
and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.
~Jeremiah 32:38, 40-41
(emphasis mine).  Do you hear his heart?  We are his and he is ours.  His covenant is beyond "till death do us part."  He will never stop doing good to us--even when he inspires us to fear him.  He rejoices in doing good to us.
Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will sing as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
“In that day,” declares the LORD,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD. 
~Hosea 2:14-16, 19-20

The Valley of Trouble (Achor) will become a door of hope.  He has not abandoned us in the desert, but led us.  And he has not led us into the desert for evil or to let us die (as the Israelites feared in their desert wanderings).  We may not know all his purposes, but he allures us, speaks tenderly to us, covenants with heart and soul, gives all for us...for our good.  Even now.

They will be called the Holy People, 
the Redeemed of the LORD; 
and you will be called Sought After, 
the City No Longer Deserted.

~Isaiah 62:12

You, are Sought After.  You have captured his heart.  He will, he is, doing good to us even when we cannot see it.

I gave you my solemn oath 
and entered into a covenant with you, 
declares the Sovereign Lord, 
and you became mine.

~Ezekiel 16:8b

1 comment:

Elizabeth Johnson said...

I was just telling a friend today, if I really believed God is always good, I would never worry or be anxious about my health problems! I too have an invisible illness - and I'm sharing some of the things I've learned from it over on my blog. Would love to hear your thoughts on what I've written -