I fell asleep last night with tears rolling down my cheeks.
A long, lazy day with a schedule & a to-do list that didn’t get done (does it ever?) had left me restless (as it should), but it also left me broken. Broken over my own sin, that seems to keep me so pinned down that I cannot get back up. Broken by a thousand never-ending fears that whisper and cut like shards on my already beat-up heart. But the last words He placed on my lips did not give validity to these fears—in the same breath that shuddered with fear, He reminded me: I, I am He who comforts you.
And so I woke up, a full thirty minutes before my alarm, and was met not with those old lies, but with new mercies. I woke up to a Monday morning email that humbled my spirit. I woke up to the God who says, I still choose you. I woke up to little mercies like good coffee and text messages and words in His Word that speak again to those words I fell asleep repeating in the dark.
As I finish Isaiah, I finish a book that has made His glory personal, that has brought His glory down into the muck and mire of His people’s day-to-day details, not to tarnish it but it to make it more real, more beautiful, more substantial to me—this glory that changes everything, even the dark, dark nation I sit in right now.
Because that’s where this is all headed—the nations coming to worship Him and Him alone. It’s not about the house or the impending judgement war or even about the newness He’s bringing to His people who have sought Him, who have humbled themselves and let their hearts be broken for His sake. In the end, even the end of every single day we live and breathe, it’s all about worship.
Let the nations be glad & sing for joy. But how can they if I don’t? How will they know, if my face isn’t radiant with His presence and glory come down? How will they understand Him if I don’t speak of Him rightly?
And the enemy pushes back and says, “You’ve messed up too much. You’ve missed too many chances already.”
But my Father pushes right back at my accuser and says, I still choose her. I still appoint her. I still send her. I still love her.
And that’s enough. That is victory. I am not the victory-bringer here. God is not my cosmic cheerleader, shouting, “You can do it!” No, He’s already done it. I’m a prisoner of hope, treading down the foes as I march in His triumphant procession—not as I myself wield the sword, thinking I can do it all myself. I cannot.
And the only wounds I end up inflicting are on myself—or on those I love most.
But His banner over me is love, and it already flies in victory over the battlefield. Not that the days still aren’t long and there aren’t still battles to face—there are. Especially when living overseas, there are. But the sword in my hand is the Spirit’s, and it is the Word of God. To it my mind—where most of the battles are—must remain captive. A prisoner of a war that was finished long ago. A prisoner of hope, clinging to the resurrection’s power placed within me. A prisoner of hope to the One who says, Worship Me.
Psalm 126 (MSG)
A Pilgrim Song
It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations—
“God was wonderful to them!”
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people.
And now, God, do it again—
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.