Sunday, March 16, 2008

Simple Spiritual Equations

My chemistry homework lately has been a bit stressful...and I have been a bit stressed out. And all these facts and equations have been floating around aimlessly in my brain. Which is probably why when I was reading my Bible last night I noticed that there were simple spiritual equations in Isaiah 30:15 :)

"This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
'In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength.' "

Repentance + Rest = Salvation

Quietness + Trust = Strength

So I thought about those equations and that verse for quite awhile. Mostly the first one because there were some questions I had concerning it. I understood the fact that repentance = salvation. We learn that when we come to Christ as our Savior. And we know that we need to continually have a heart of true repentance concerning our sins. But I wondered about the "rest" part. How does rest = salvation??? I looked up some verses that include the word "rest" in them. And I found many but the one that interested me the most, and I feel fit my question the best was actually in Joshua 21:44-45.

"The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled."

Do you see any connection there? I did (and I have reasons for it, although later it might be proven that I am also insane :). To me, it made the connection that when God provides rest for us, He does so in giving us the assurance that He keeps His promises. And in that hope, that assurance, is salvation. I know that I need to daily allow God to save me from myself--my fears, my doubts, my flesh, my sins. I need constant salvation from those enemies in my life. Yes, Christ's blood covered my sins once and for all with His death on the cross. But these enemies still come against me everyday. They still try to win a foothold in my heart and life.

And in John 15:9 Jesus says:
"As the Father has loved me, so have I love you. Now remain in my love."

And in John 14:23 Jesus says:
"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."

When we come and make our home with Christ, remain in Him, obey His commands and learn to rest in Him; that is when we gain victory and the salvation we need from our enemies.
Repentance + Rest = Salvation

In the second equation we find the answer to receiving strength from God.
I thought that it was interesting that it mentions quietness as necessary for strength. Because our world today brings the idea that forcefulness and action is needed to have strength. But God says in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10) that the meek will inherit the earth and in Isaiah (40:31) that those that wait on God will receive strength. Pretty conflicting ideas there...but God says that it is in our quietness of heart that we will find the strength we need from day to day.
A book I am reading by Elisabeth Elliot, called Keep A Quiet Heart, ties this quietness in with trusting God over and over again. She reminds us that it is our distrust of God that causes our hearts to be unsettled and doubt. We say we trust God, but if our hearts and thoughts are questioning Him left and right; we really don't trust Him. When we learn to accept what God has in store for us, His plans for our lives; our hearts can settle down in the comfort of trusting Him. We can be calm and peaceful even when storms rage around us that we don't understand, knowing that He does understand.
That quietness of heart and trusting God is crucial to have peace and is what gives us strength. It makes us firm and unyielding to doubts, troubles, and trials that come our way. Instead of relying on our own strength, it leads us to rely on His.
Quietness + Trust = Strength

Later on in Isaiah 30:18, we are given another reassurance and I want to end with that...

"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!"

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Like Susan...

With a jingling of mail the others climbed up behind her. Aslan glided on before them and they walked after him.
"Lucy," said Susan in a very small voice.
"Yes?" said Lucy.
"I see him now. I'm sorry."
"That's all right."
"But I've been far worse than you know. I really believed it was him--he, I mean--yesterday. When he warned us not to go down to the fir wood. And I really believed it was him tonight, when you woke us up. I mean, deep down inside. Or I could have, if I'd let myself. But I just wanted to get out of the woods and--and--oh, I don't know. And what ever am I to say to him?"
"Perhaps you won't need to say much," suggested Lucy.
Then after an awful pause, the deep voice said, "Susan." Susan made no answer but the others thought she was crying. "You have listened to fears, child," said Aslan. "Come, let me breathe on you. Forget them. Are you brave again?"
"A little, Aslan," said Susan.
(From Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis)

I thought I'd better update you all and tell you what's been going on with me in the past two weeks. If you read the past post you know that I'd been confused as to what I felt God wanted me to do.

Did He want me to stay in Wenatchee or go to Omak?

And quite honestly I felt that He would say, "Stay in Wenatchee. Trust me that I can provide money and a way for you." I felt that was how He could build the most trust, make me grow the most. Psshh. Shows you what I know!

Cause that is not what He said. After much prayer, He told me to return to Omak.

But me, being the human I am, questioned, "God? That can't possibly be the way you want me to walk. Right? Right God? I must not have heard You right." Oh, boy. I can be such a know-it-all. :) So guess what?!? To add to my stupidity, I decided to fight Him for control. So for almost a week I pushed aside that knowledge of what I should do and determined that could not be His will for me. Actually at the time I wrote that last post, I already knew the truth of what He wanted from me, but I was rebelling. And you all know the story of Jacob right? (Genesis 32) He wrestled with God. But he was left maimed. Well I wrestled with God, and thankfully I was not maimed for life, but I did get sick. Sick and very stressed out. And one night I cried for 3 hours straight. I was miserable. And I finally fell asleep crying, but in the morning when I woke up I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God really did want me to go back to Omak.

And I surrendered.

And it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Because I realized that I actually needed to trust God more in going back to Omak. I had been so worried about what Katie would say and leaving her; about leaving the wonderful place we live in; about having a place to live if I came back here in the fall. "God!" I cried, "What if, what if, what if...and how are You going to work all this out?"

Like Susan, I knew that I should believe He was there, beside me. But I can be so fearful. So self-righteous. And too smart for my own good.

God, like Aslan, called me to His side. Gently He asked me to dwell in His presence, and there He was able to calm and reassure me that He really, truly is in complete control.

God is in control. He really is people!!!!!

Cause guess what?

When I told Katie, although she was sad; she understood. My fears about telling her were completely worthless. Praise God for such a great friend I have in Katie!

When I called my old employer and asked if I could work there again, at first he said he didn't think I could. But days later he told me that they worked out a way. So I have my old job that I loved back, waiting for me! Praise God for His gifts! Praise God for Christian employers that love me!

When I registered for classes in Omak, I was able to get into the exact ones I needed. Thank you Lord!

You see, God reassured me that because it's His plan, it will work out.

It will still be hard for me to leave my friends here in Wenatchee. And I am still going to have to trust Him in the months ahead for more directions on what way He has planned for me. But our God truly has the best plans for us, not just good plans--the best plans. I know that this will just be another event, in the many of my life, that I will be able to look back on and see the fingerprints of God all over it and be encouraged that the next steps He has for me are the best. Because He loves us so much and He knows all things.

I will not always be brave...rarely will I be brave actually. I am weak and cowardly. And I may think that I am smart and that I know what's best...but I am not really and I don't. God can see the events in my life that are ahead. I am sure I will fail to trust Him on countless occasions and you will probably read of them (again and again!) and get to say (along with me), "Gosh Dessa. Don't you ever learn? By now you would think you would know that you can't outsmart, you can't out-plan our Lord!"

But I want to encourage everyone that reads this that God does have everything under control in your life...if you let Him lead. The only way you can know God's way for your lives (the best way) is to be in a relationship with Him, one where He is the head of us. We have to draw near to Him and dwell at His feet to be able to hear what He has for us. And we have to live in utter surrender to His plans for us. Being committed to Him isn't enough...we have to be surrendered.

And that is, my friends, what God has been doing in me lately. :D