I’m not one to believe when you drop open the Bible and point to a verse that it’s the verse for the day. It just doesn’t happen that way. Most verses just don’t jump up at you. But sometimes, once in a great while, they do.
It’s been a busy time around the Anthony household for quite a few weeks. I’ll not go into it all, but just suffice it to say we’ve had our hands fuller than usual. And usually our hands are pretty full. Most of it has been of our own doing, but it’s still been busy. We’re like most of you who will read this-we lead busy, full lives. It’s the way of the Western world and the Anthony house definitely fits in that mode these days. Rest hasn’t been prevalent and certainly not abundant. Jan and I have needed some rest but it will have to wait for a few more days.
Yesterday I grabbed my Bible from the bookcase, where it sits on my desk at the office, about to open it to look for a verse. The book dropped open and I glanced down as to where I was-Isaiah 30:15 was the first thing I saw. “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! …Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (vs. 15-16, 18)
Whoa! I stopped in my tracks! I need, and desperately wanted, some sleep. I needed to organize my to do list and figure out the next steps. My world was also full of all sorts of distractions that came from computers, phones, cell phones and email. I was ready to throw the whole lot away and then I read these verses. I paused and read them again. Then I got out my commentary to dive a little deeper into these three verses.
God was telling his people that they had been self-sufficient. Too self-reliant. They were going to take care of it all themselves. Bingo! And there I was. In our world we are taught if we don’t do it, no one will. We’re taught to take care of it ourselves. We congratulate those who are the self made men and women, who have pulled themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps and we say, “Hey, look at them. They’ve done it all. We can do it, too!” And we try. And we busy ourselves with all sorts of activities and work.
Activities and work are not inherently evil and wrong. But it’s the idea that we have to accomplish everything by ourselves. We have placed our faith in ourselves and our abilities. We will do it all. Ultimately, it will be our demise.
The Lord stands ready to be gracious, to guide us, sustain us, support us. He will open doors that we can’t open and he will close doors we can’t close. He will direct our steps and will give us aid. If we wait. But too often, like little children, we are running to and fro and out in front and not keeping in step with our heavenly Father.
And so I wait. And I will trust in God’s provision and strength and not my own. I will trust him to help me rest and be quiet in the midst of all that is happening around me.
You might not have needed this word, but I did. I wrote it for me. Because I wanted to remember the last time I opened the Bible and a verse jumped up at me.