Throughout last year, I asked my Bible study group to pray for a dissension issue in my life. During my daily shower, I earnestly prayed, expanding on each point of Max Lucado’s Pocket Prayer: “God, you are good. I need help. They need help. Thank you. Amen.” Issues would come and go as a prayer focus, but one stubborn concern remained, seemingly stalemated. I am well aware that God answers prayers with a maybe, a no, or not yet, and sometimes with an immediate response. But His ultimate response usually is never how we had invisioned it to be. It is usually better than we could have dreamed! Waiting for God is part of our training as a Christian. Paul tells us to find joy in the wait — to be content in whatever state God places us. It is amazing, but I have found contentment in this desert. Contentment doesn’t mean happiness. Rather it is not anxious, or upset, but accepting of the situation as it is. Worrying is futile, because God does have our best interests at heart. He is my Father, and He cares for me even more than my Daddy did. My Daddy certainly would be fighting for my case. After all, God’s Son died for me!
Finally, at the end of this summer, there is a glimmer of hope. My Bible study resumes soon, though we will be placed into new groupings. My group from last year developed a spiritual connection. We even had a few summer gatherings. Some have sent emails updating us on their prayer requests which remain, or have been answered. I wrote to these prayer warriors recently about my new glimmer of hope in resolving my issue. One responded with, “Read Is. 49:4-5. God is doing that for you!”
So I read it in the ESV and was confused. It didn’t make any sense:
4 But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the Lord,
and my recompense with my God.”
5 And now the Lord says,
he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him;
and that Israel might be gathered to him—
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord,
and my God has become my strength—
Then I tried the KJV,
I still didn’t see what my friend was trying to convey to me.
So I tried TLB, a more colloquial version:
4 I replied, “But my work for them seems all in vain; I have spent my strength for them without response. Yet I leave it all with God for my reward.”
5 “And now,” said the Lord—the Lord who formed me from my mother’s womb to serve him who commissioned me to restore to him his people Israel, who has given me the strength to perform this task and honored me for doing it!
Now this version made some sense to me! My prayer has always been through the seasons, tragedies, and triumphs of life — that God will be glorified in whatever happens to me and He will guide my responses to these issues of life so they will bring glory to Him! That is all that matters. The reason we, who believe, are alive is to glorify God. When we have completed our mission on earth, He will call us home.
After I responded to my friend telling her of my initial confusion, then what I learned by reading several translations. She replied, “Ha! I mistyped the numbers! Well, I’m glad you did a study anyway. Being in the Word is always a good thing. : ) The verse I intended for you to look up was Is. 40:4-5.”
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
I wrote to her: “Oh, you are tooooo funny!!!!! LOL You made me work so hard to figure out what you wanted me to see!!!! LOL Well, God apparently wanted me to see the verses in 49. LOL I have already started writing a blog post about it. And NOW, you have put a whole new twist on it!!! LOL
“Actually, it all boils down to the same thing: God uses us to bring glory to Him. Thank you, Lord. And thank you, Kelly!