And he said a lot of good things, as he always does.
But the Word that struck me wasn't his, but HIS.
In Isaiah 30, Isaiah is trying to talk to the tribe of Judah about their pattern of fear, their pattern of making plans that are not His, of making alliances that are not of His Spirit, of adding sin to sin, of crying out for the help of this who cannot profit them.
I can tell you how I see these patterns in Haiti. I can tell you how I see these patterns in America. I can tell you how I see these patterns in ME.
You can tell me, too.
Chan said it. I read it. And the words are chipping at me still.
In quietness and trust is your strength.
The last time someone said something that upset or offended you, upset or offended me, was our response quietness and trust in the Lord? The last time I read something? The last time I learned something? The last time I worried something?
The last time I headed into something, the last set of plans, the last confrontation, the last frustration, the last fear...was my response, was my posture that of quietness and trust?
Because human wit and wisdom and opinion, human emotion and natural response...it is our weakness.
When I think of an example of a display of quietness and trust...I think of the strength of the Cross.
As He accepted. And allowed His injustice. And turned His other innocent cheek, and TRUSTED.
I'm reading the biography of missionary Adoniram Judson to the girls at bedtime right now, and a few nights ago Jane read to us the way he proposed marriage to his wife and her family, asking them to surely say goodbye forever to their daughter, never to be seen again, to trust God in her perilous journey to Burma, to face certain struggle and persecution, and likely violent death.
And how dear Ann accepted, and got on that ship she may well die upon after saying goodbye to everyone she had ever loved with jump ropes in her handbag for exercise.
How with quietness, she trusted. And it was her strength. Each day.
It's not natural, is it! Or it's what Israel would have been doing. Instead of fleeing and begging and planning and aligning.
And it is why in the verses following, the Lord, instead of being at WORK in their situation, changing it and battling it, is WAITING, "waiting on high to have compassion on you, longing to be gracious to you, our God of justice."
He waits for us to BE QUIET and to TRUST, that He might be our strength.
And suddenly His Word has me aware, and I long for the quiet of trust in Him.
So I am deliberately quieting. And trusting. And He is helping.
I'm trusting God with Claudin, with our many dear friends who are struggling, who are suffering. I'm trusting God with my family of littles, with all the many details of all our many travels this next four weeks, I'm trusting God with their hearts as Lily shares at bedtime how it is impossible to make friends in America because every friend she makes, we leave a day later. I'm trusting God with moving an almost 2-year-old every 3-4 nights for four weeks.
I'm trusting God with all the details here while we are gone. I'm asking Sofie to trust God with her precious cat, who EVERY summer before has become food for a pet or person. I'm trusting God with the work much work there is to do here, for the work there is to do there, with the appointments to make, with the sermons to preach, with the friends to alongside, with the relationships to dwell. I'm trusting Him with the many plans, and the many people, here and there. I'm trusting Him with all the needs, I'm trusting God with the things we can't wait for, with the things we are dreading, and as I feel my opinions and fears rise up in my throat, I am asking to be silenced, and He is.
And I pray that as He does, in me, His strength will be seen in our hearts and lives, our only strength.
Do you trust me? He asks me, over and over and over the years.
And I remember now that I. Do.
For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
"In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength"
But you were not willing...
Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of Justice
and how blessed are those who long for Him.