For Those Who Are Waiting in a Time of Grief and Pain

WaitingThis week, my daily Bible reading took me through Isaiah 30 which has much to say to those who wait with grieving and pain-filled hearts. You may be waiting for someone to love and cherish you… waiting for the privilege to bear children, waiting for healing for a terminal illness, waiting for a prodigal child to finally come home or waiting for the Lord’s release to go home to heaven. Whatever it is, the prophet Isaiah offers encouragement and hope. Here are a few of my reflections on some of the impactful verses from this chapter.

Isaiah 30:15 – For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

Our strength comes from being still before the Lord, contemplating who He is and what He has done. Our contemplation of his beauty and holiness should lead us to regularly repent (return) from trying to find satisfaction, worth, and fulfillment in created things and not our Creator (Romans 1:25). This repentance, which Martin Luther said should be daily, leads us to rest in the Lord. Ask the Lord to bring you to a place where you truly rest in him and cease striving or fretting about where you are right now in your life. Only He can do this.

Verse 18 – Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.

It certainly doesn’t seem like a blessing to wait for the Lord. But HE says that it is whether we feel it or not. This verse reminds us that at the end of the day, somehow, someway, the Lord will be gracious and merciful to us. He will exalt himself in doing so. So even when he is gracious and merciful, it is ultimately about him and his glory and not just about us and our happiness – “He exalts himself.” Unfortunately, we can make so much of life about us. Our Lord is quick to remind us that it isn’t.

Verses 20-21 – And though the Lord give you
the bread of adversity and the water of affliction,
yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore,
but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

The Lord can give us, like he did Job long ago, the bread of adversity and the water of affliction. He has that prerogative. He did this to his people during Isaiah’s time by sending them into exile for their persistent sin and rebellion. But our Lord will ultimately reveal himself as our teacher and guide. He will open our spiritual eyes to see him and our ears to hear him. May you hear today His Spirit saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” There are other voices calling for your attention in your pain that would lead you away from the Lord and his revealed will in his Word. This is true for all of us.

Verse 26 – Moreover, the light of the moon
will be as the light of the sun,
and the light of the sun will be sevenfold,
as the light of seven days,
in the day when the Lord binds up
the brokenness of his people,
and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

Brokenness and woundedness do not have the final word in the lives of God’s people. The Lord will bind up our brokenness and heal our wounds, even the wounds that He inflicts upon us. He is God and even his wounding of us is for our ultimate blessing and good. It sure doesn’t feel like it, but God’s Word says that it is.

The great danger of our generation is that we allow our feelings to dictate to our minds and hearts more than the truths of God’s authoritative Word.

May the Lord use His Word today to encourage you in your waiting, grief and pain. There is coming a day when you will never experience any of these things again. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus.

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