Day 274 – Take a Deep Breath

That’s what I need to do. I am feeling great pressure from work just to learn, get on top of things, and move forward. Then I flew home. Add to that the pressure of hospitalized husband and plain ole kids. Not to mention the dogs. WOW.

I need to take a deep breath.

I made myself sleep in (after hauling kids off to school) and have devotions before diving in.

And dang. So much great scripture to write about.

I need to take a deep breath.

The problem is, I can’t – Isaiah 53 just takes my breath away! (yuck, yuck).

The Suffering Servant

Seriously, what an amazing prophecy. I wonder what Isaiah’s readers – the Babylonian exiles – thought of it. “What’s this about someone who’s going to serve us and suffer for our sins? We’re looking for a conquering leader, someone who will take us back to our land!”

As I read it, I hear the music of Handel’s Messiah floating through.

And it’s such a beautiful description of Christ’s work for us:

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
(Isaiah 53:6 ESV)

Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt…

… he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
(Isaiah 53: 10a, 12b ESV)

The Faithful Father

This passage also jumped out at me as I recalled my “dusky hour” of the soul and how God came back into my life in force. Not that He ever left, but that He drew the curtains shut for my good:

“For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.
(Isaiah 54:7-8 ESV)

I absolutely believe that God’s anger at the sin that separated us and His great love to draw me closer both led Him to hide His face. But He never stopped being my Lord and my Redeemer.

The Lord of Love

As I perused today’s NT passage, I came upon a favorite Pauline prayer of mine – one I heard again just the other day:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father… [and pray] that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV)

I love what this passage says – that it takes POWER, it takes STRENGTH to understand the greatness of God’s love. It takes God’s powerful intervention for us to get the gospel in the first place, to understand that a suffering servant – not a conquering hero – is God’s plan to heal the breach between us.

And it takes God’s strength to show us the gospel again and again in our lives, to reveal our sin and the great love that dealt with that sin. And of course, He uses the crowbar of pain to wield that power – even hiding His face if it will break us and lead us closer to His heart, helping us more intimately know the love that’s beyond our imagination… but not beyond our prayers.

 

 

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 53:1-54:15, Psalm 113:1-4, Proverbs 26:17-19, Ephesians 3:1-21. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only)

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