December 15, 2014

Isaiah 7:2 Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

I don’t know that I’ve ever underlined this verse, as many times as I’ve read it, but it really struck me now as a comment on the weakness and foolishness of mankind. The king and his people were emotionally completely shaken by the news they heard – as expressed in a very descriptive metaphor. Exactly the same sort of thing happens today all the time when people hear certain news. The problem with it is that it completely leaves God out of the equation. For one thing, the disaster is extrapolated: it hasn’t happened yet, but certain news convinces people it’s going to happen. As a result, people act as though the disaster were happening, or had already happened. It’s like the old saying says: “A coward dies a thousand deaths, but a brave man dies but once.” We borrow trouble that hasn’t happened yet, and suffer completely needlessly. As played out in this particular instance, God often has a better idea. The devil is out to steal, kill, and destroy, (John 10:10) and our peace is one of his prime targets. If he can get us to fantasize about horrible things, he’s pretty well done his job. That’s why the Bible tells us so many times not to be anxious: our anxiety is the opposite of faith, and it yields territory to the devil. It’s not that bad things don’t happen; Jesus was very clear on that score. (John 16:33) However, when our hearts are anchored in Him, we can rejoice regardless of the circumstances.

A very recent example came to mind as I wrote that. A lady was told that her father had maybe two months to live, and she was devastated. As it turned out he only had about two weeks, but in that interval he made a clear-cut commitment to Jesus Christ and was baptized, which is certainly rare for an 88 year old Japanese man. It wasn’t that everything was as the lady might have wanted, but her father had far less suffering from his cancer than might have been, and he gained entry into the family of God. Even closer to home, I’m in the middle of training in this area right now myself. With a packed schedule, I have stressed out to the point of digestive problems. That’s so foolish! If bad things happen, they happen, but God can use even those for good, (Romans 8:28) and He is more than capable of carrying me successfully through any schedule. You’d think I would have absorbed this lesson more thoroughly by now, but I’m still growing! I have no business “shaking like the trees in a forest in a strong wind.” Rather, I am to rest, relax, and rejoice, just as He has told me, looking forward eagerly to what He is going to do.

Father, thank You for carrying me through the day yesterday, and that everything went so smoothly. Thank You for who was present when, and for taking care of such little details as when and what to have for lunch, and having a cable to connect the keyboard to the amp for the carol sing. Thank You for having everything in the week ahead equally under control. May all Your plans be fulfilled in every detail, and may I trust You for it ahead of time, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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