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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Today’s Reading | Isaiah 30:18–26

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!

People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”

He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted. (NIV)

How often do we “long” for things in our daily lives? “I long for a vacation; I long for a sunny day; I long to have more money.” When you actually stop and flip the scenario, God just longs to know us, to have us love him, to need, to trust, to worship God. Take the simple phrase, “do unto others . . .” what if we “did” unto God in addition to others?

Yearning and longing are both very real feelings that God gave us, but when we long for our idols and not God, the chance to hear God say, “This is the way; walk in it” becomes less clear. God will be gracious when we cry for help! I once read that the three hardest things for people to say are I love you, I am sorry, and I need help. I found that to be very profound, because those are three of the most important things that God teaches us: to love, to forgive, and to help one another.

When we stop and cry out for help, God will hear us; God will answer our prayers. Only when we put our idols and our yearning for other things aside will we truly understand and see the countless blessings that God has bestowed upon us without us even asking. Our walk with God will be solid, God’s voice clear. To face the “adversity” and “afflictions” of life, we must stop and ask for that help, cry out to our God! Let us yearn for our God before all else.

Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you for giving me the capability to yearn. As my days unfold, help me to distinguish the difference between what I really need versus what is a temporary relief. Help me to cry out to you first and foremost when adversity comes, so that I may continually hear your voice. In your name. Amen.

Written by Ashley Elskus, Director, Center for Life and Learning

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