For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading through the book of Isaiah. Old Testament books always take me longer to get through, and honestly, I tend to skip over things that I don’t want to read about. (Genealogies, anyone?) I used to read very intentionally and spend time studying verses by paragraph, journaling through it, and praying over the words. I don’t do that much anymore, mostly because my time in the Word is in the middle of my kids watching TV and simultaneously wanting my attention. I take what I can, when I can.
Isaiah is a hard book for me. Maybe if I read it more thoroughly I could give you a detailed analysis of what the book goes through, but honestly, the first 25 chapters depress the heck out of me. God has a lot of judgement for a lot of people, and it’s the part of God that people are most afraid of. Humanity is rebellious in nature, so reading about how God has handled that in the past (before Jesus came for us) seems scary.
So I trudge through. I know that there is redemption and salvation in this book, because I read the introduction in my study Bible that said it was there. (See, we all don’t need to be Bible scholars to read this book.) And when I got there, it was rich. Full. It did not disappoint.
Before I reached the part where praises and glory and honor are given to God, I literally went about reading through Isaiah like it was a novel. A story. Sometimes it’s the best I can do. I don’t retain all the information, but I know that His Word goes out (in this case, into my mind) and never comes back empty. Remember that. You don’t have to be analyzing all the workings of the Bible in order to benefit from it. You simply have to show up sometimes, let the Word do its job, and read it. If you think it’s failing to do its job, you may try looking within yourself.
I’m not finished. I have a few chapters left. But I got to this verse and felt like my knees needed to be on the ground:
Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you. Isaiah 26:12 NLT
For two years, I’ve felt like we have been striving constantly. My self-employed, freelance graphic designer husband has a job with no steady income. It isn’t for the faint of heart. I’m working on contentment in my soul, because we are blessed beyond measure, truly. I just get restless here, wanting more for us, to see the fruit of my husband’s work, to see all the success that I think he deserves.
When it gets really hard for me, my faith buckles. I am hardly peaceful.
This verse feels like the redemption. The redeeming grace in my tireless striving, the truth that I don’t have to work so hard to have more. I want to find my way to my knees in order to pray this so fully it’s like my bones cry it: Lord! You grant us the peace! All of this, whatever our accomplishments are, they are really from YOU!
When it is all about Him, the pressure isn’t on me. I don’t have to perform. I can have peace, available to me at all times, because He gives us all that we need. You, Lord Jesus. What a Redeemer.