Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Highway to Holiness

It's been a challenging couple of weeks for me since returning from vacation and there has been much opportunity for God to hold up a mirror where I could see myself in plain view.

I picked up an adage years ago, and though it is not scripture per se, I think it is consistent with its teachings. I often return to it in order to make sense of what is happening to me and around me.

"God offends the mind to reveal the heart."

I had occasion to be offended of late, and trust me, what was in my heart came gushing to the top. Whether that gushing be good, bad or indifferent, when our hearts are offended, what's in there is going to show. What showed in me wasn't very pretty. I was shocked at my own inability to stand against the onslaught. But I knew that before God could deal with what needs to be changed, first I had to see it.

Another thing I've picked up along the way is that God is not so much concerned about my happiness as he is about my holiness. It's not that he doesn't want us to be happy, it's that holiness (walking in pure and unadulterated relationship with him) is the one and only key to a deeper and lasting happiness. I want the full goods and if being unhappy today means that I have a more open and free relationship with Him tomorrow, then bring it on. If being happy today means I miss that, then forget it. But it isn't easy. And it isn't pleasant. But it does lead us to a higher plane.

I was reading in Isaiah this week and Chapter 35 was of great comfort. I saw it as applied to my own desert of a heart and was thrilled by the promises contained therein while yet surrounded by the darkness of a deep valley. It was like finding a beautiful lily along the pathway that threads through the valley of death... I picked it, put it in a vase, and now I share it with you.. It's worth it all, dear friends. It's worth it all.

Isaiah 35
Hope for Restoration

1 Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
2 Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon,
as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
There the Lord will display his glory,
the splendor of our God.
3 With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
and encourage those who have weak knees.
4 Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
He is coming to save you.”
5 And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
and unplug the ears of the deaf.
6 The lame will leap like a deer,
and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!
Springs will gush forth in the wilderness,
and streams will water the wasteland.
7 The parched ground will become a pool,
and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land.
Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived.
8 And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness.
Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways;
fools will never walk there.
9 Lions will not lurk along its course,
nor any other ferocious beasts. There will be no other dangers.
Only the redeemed will walk on it.
10 Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return.
They will enter Jerusalem[a] singing,
crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

Isaiah 35 (New Living Translation)New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.


Brenda said...

Dear sister, again you have strengthened and encouraged me with your words and the words of Scripture. I was reminded of the song 'He Will Come and Save You' when I read the verses from Isaiah.

Meg said...

Thank you so much, Susan. These were essential words for me to read today. Thank you for sharing them so beautifully and honestly.

Belinda said...

Yes, under pressure it is always interesting and dismaying sometimes, what comes out. I know, from personal experience. Thank you.

Susan said...

Yeah, but once God allows the pressure to bring the junk up and out into the Light, we can repent, and God can deal with it.

More, Lord!

Praise him for his mercy and goodness.