It is my favorite book! Some would wonder with a very profound, ‘why?’. I have read it slowly, verse by verse. I have poured over it with tears and heartache. I have been drawn to it while walking through many of the difficult times in my life. This book always calls to me and I cannot resist, I must come to the pages… read… and listen. I have to admit, this is not the book to read if smiles and giggles are what you seek. But, if your heart aches and your soul longs for more than surface comfort, this is the place to stop and find true substance. Isaiah! Yes, you read that correctly! You know the old adage, “don’t judge a book by the cover”? Well, look deeper into this one and see what you find. The writings contained in this beautiful book are that of a tragic love story for the nation of Israel, but tragedy is engulfed in Grace and Mercy. Amidst the darkness, we find Hope, a Promise of Messiah to come and redeem all that is broken, empty and in need of a Savior. This book, among all the rubble, destruction and ashes… truly brings Hope! Words to mend, to heal and infuse beauty all through the broken and aching places of our soul.
I am drawn back again and I cannot resist. I know I need to hear, no… I need to ‘listen.’ Eyes to the page and Isaiah 26:3 – caught my attention, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Perfect peace. I am in question and I know it. My heart is NOT in perfect peace! My heart is broken and troubled and bleeding. My heart reminds me daily. Busyness can disguise it. Being with those that I love can distract it. But truth is my heart hurts and when all is still and quiet, it reminds me.
In the quietness, my thoughts reveal what my heart already knows…
When a heart breaks… it will ooze out something! Whether it be bitterness, pain and unforgiveness that are relentless in their conquest of our joy and hope or the oozing of a constant plea and outcry for grace to come in and fight for us, rescue us and retain a steadfast eye on our only Hope. In these two variables, we either give in to the natural oozing out or we gear up for battle to pour in all that is good and grace and love. In both, the heart breaks, it bleeds and it oozes out.
In the book of Isaiah, Israel was in a self-inflicted plight of destruction. Isaiah was deeply grieved and his heart was broken, bleeding and oozing out for his people. Continually, the LORD would give Hope. “If you do this… I will do this. If you hear and follow, I will speak and lead”. HOPE! Yet, Israel would not and Isaiah stood, heart bleeding and oozing in the rubble that once was a strong nation. Their fear was not a reverent fear. Their fear was no longer awe and wonder. Their fear was not defined by righteous submission. They no longer found amazement to gaze upon Holy and Sacred things. Their hearts were tainted and captivated by simple pleasures that would perish and lead them into utter destruction… yet, “they would not.” Isaiah grieved and longed for his people, but not as deeply as the LORD JEHOVAH, whom offered a way…offered HOPE … ‘in returning and rest will ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.’ Yet, Israel would not. (Isaiah 30:15)
Israel’s neglect of turning did not stop Isaiah, he still proclaimed the word of the LORD and stood in the gap for his people. The LORD still remained steady, constant and true… He remained faithful to His promise for His people. In these promises, His proclamations about the cause and effect of their sin, His ‘if’s’ remained just as steady, just as constant and just as true. Yet, He waited. And He waited. And He waited even longer. But not only did He wait, He LOVED. Jehovah loved His people, even in their rebellion… He loved them and offered them HOPE.
My heart and my soul are in battle to stay and to trust… even in all of the Truth that I know. In the realness of the day and the inner ‘pep-talks’, reminders to do this life well, gearing up is a task. I want to be all put together, but sometimes life is just hard and I am not. I wish it were easy! I wish it were simple! I wish I was different, but I struggle and my heart breaks. But this breaking, oh this breaking, is awareness that this heart loves deeply. This heart is alive and open and given. This heart is changed by the love and Presence of Jesus. So LORD, fill me with compassion. Pour love into my heart and allow it to spill over. Measure out my faith today and in my tomorrow, if it may come. Allow grace and mercy to be seen in the little things, the profound things, and the day to day things of this life. And LORD, hold my breaking, bleeding and oozing heart in the dark place and shine in Light. Grip this heart tight in the hard place so I may know it is You holding me steady. Allow Your word to seep in from the shallows and flood out all that comes to overtake me. Just as Isaiah had purpose and stood in the gap because of love for his people, more was his purpose and love for You, his LORD and his GOD, allow me to be that person.
If this is your heart breaking, bleeding and oozing today, if you find yourself in the dark spot, the hard place… keep gearing up for the task. When the pages seem blank and the verses feel like empty breath dissipating into thin air… keep reading them, rehearsing them, writing them. Speak truth, even if you just do not know if you believe it today. Reminder: what “you” believe or do not, does not change Truth and its magnitude in and around you. The LORD is Truth, has written Truth, speaks Truth and nothing… I will say it again, N-O-T-H-I-N-G within your power can change that.
Truth will prevail in your life, just keep at it. Keep Truth! Take a look back at the opening verse. Take a good look. We are told “whose mind is stayed”, a firm mind – our intellectual framework, not our heart. As we lead our mind with the given Truth, this Truth will stick and our heart will be impact by Truths presence. We will have a heart with Truth etched upon it, engraved in it and the bleeding will cease and the pain subside. As for the oozing, let it continue with love, compassion, goodness and Truth into the broken and bleeding like-minded and closed-minded around us seeking to retreat from the pain that is their daily reality. Our hearts hold what they need, pour it out.
So in truth to myself, I say, ‘I will take the heart that is breaking and bleeding and oozing, because I never want to not experience the “love”. The “love” will far outweigh the breaking and bleeding. As for the oozing, one day the oozing will change.
There will be precious outpouring that is like refined gold… priceless.”
LORD, keep me this day. Keep us this day. Take us into Your perfect peace and lead our minds to be stayed upon You. Equip our souls to trust in You through every word, every promise, every “if” … all that You are. Change us, change our hearts, redeem our pain and use all that we are for Your purpose. Magnify You in us, pour us out into others and become real to them. Bring Life! Shine Light! Bring Glory! Remind us daily that there is purpose in our pain and it is priceless… because You paid our debt. In Jesus name… Amen.