Isaiah 58:8-11 Amplified Bible (AMP)
8 “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your healing (restoration, new life) will quickly spring forth;
Your righteousness will go before you [leading you to peace and prosperity],
The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry for help, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away from your midst the yoke [of oppression], The finger pointed in scorn [toward the oppressed or the godly], and [every form of] wicked (sinful, unjust) speech,
10 And if you offer yourself to [assist] the hungry
And satisfy the [a]need of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.
11 “And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
Have you ever felt like you just can’t catch a break? A break from what seems like disasters in your life. Possibly, your washing machine broke, the next day your pool pump broke, and that evening your new refrigerator stopped working. That was a true story for me awhile back, and thankfully it’s all been taken care of. Maybe, you’re sick, or you recently got into a car accident while rushing to the hospital so you could say goodbye to a loved one. I could sit here and scenario you to pieces, but I’ll stop there hoping you get my drift. Whichever the case may be, life has been known to throw lemons at us all, and sometimes it feels as though when it rains, it really pours! For some, it feels like you are living a life playing constant dodgeball with a lemon tree, and yet you can’t point out one single thing that is causing you the emotional pain and bruises; but it’s still real to you and it hurts just as much or even more. I have been hit before by rain storms and lemons, though I haven’t struggled with long term depression, and other than seeing loved ones endure that kind of oppression I have no right to even act like I know how it feels. Honestly, I have no idea how to console those who deal with depression; other than to pray for them, be there for them, and love them through it. I do know that a broken-down refrigerator was my reality, just as much as the reality of depression is for someone who has no answers as to why they feel the way they do or how they could be “fixed” (as if that’s a thing).
When I first chose the Scriptures to write about today, I chose them because they have applied to me numerous times in my life; and though ashamed, they have applied to my life from both sides of the coin. For myself, I have felt broken and weak from things of the world, (like being overwhelmed with everything physically falling apart around me, ie. my body or the pool pump and such) and these verses restore my hope. I have also pointed my finger with a huge lack of compassion and understanding towards others because their trials seemed so menial to me. I am grateful for the forgiveness that has been extended to me. Yet the bottom line is, we all feel the rain pouring down on us. For some it’s a light sprinkle, for others it’s a hail storm, but it’s all rain just the same.
This is how these verses help me: When I am in the darkness, I will follow Christ, and He will lead me to the dawn. He’s got my back (that’s not just a cool saying, it’s in the Bible folks). I’ve called on Him and immediately heard Him say “I am here”, so yeah, I know it works! When I became a servant rather than a self-server, my gloom became like the midday sun. Now that’s bright here in Arizona! When I allow Christ to guide me He will satisfy me and give me strength, and I will never thirst. Theses verses don’t tell me that I can only point my finger and say mean stuff to unbelievers, or only feed the hungry Christian. They tell me not to say those things to any human being and to feed whoever is hungry. These verses certainly don’t say that I get to choose whose oppression is valid, and judge those whom I lack understanding for. They just tell me not to. So, if you are a Christian, I challenge you to take yourself out of the equation, love people through their pain (regardless to what is causing it), show mercy and grace for those who sin against you, use forgiveness always, and stop pushing your beliefs on non-believers as if you are perfect now that you are saved. If you are not a Christian, and by chance you are still reading this blog, I challenge you to take yourself out of the equation, love people through their pain (regardless to what is causing it), show mercy and grace for those who hurt you in any way, use forgiveness always, and don’t ever believe that you are undeserving of being loved and treated with respect by someone who puts their hope in Christ even if you do not.
I will put my hope in Christ and have faith that He will continue to give me strength as His Holy Spirit pours out of me when I’m being rained on. My prayer for you is that you find hope and a super strong umbrella in your rainstorm so you can have a refuge and some peace until the sun begins to shine on your days. I’d be lying if I wrote that the umbrella I’m talking about was just an umbrella and not a super awesome metaphor I’m using for Christ, but I could not call myself a Christian if I didn’t pray to the God I believe in for healing, peace and sunshine for us all!