by Angie Thomas
Fear and Lack of Vision. Both strongly affect our intimacy with Christ. Laurie referred often to Isaiah 54 during a recent lecture, and in this powerful passage we find clear promises addressing these two struggles. PLEASE take time to read this chapter in Isaiah and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. He has so much to say to you. Let His Word revive your heart and bring healing to your brokenness and doubt.
Fear. We all struggle with it in one way or another. Fear that God doesn’t truly love us, or if we surrender ourselves fully to Him we will suffer shame and humiliation, or fear that we are on this journey alone, or that at some point He will abandon us. The list could go on an on. How can we truly draw near to our God in oneness and intimacy if we doubt His love and goodness? Listen to these powerful promises from Isaiah 54:
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
For your Maker is your husband—
the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (v.4-5, 10)
Lack of Vision. I believe much of the malady found in the Western Church today is caused by a myopic view of God and His Kingdom purposes. His never-ending, never-giving up love for you is intended to root you deeply in Christ, NOT so you can have a nice, happy life BUT so you can be a part of His bold, daring, and scandalous story that has been unfolding since the Garden of Eden. It is scandalous because never has there been recorded in history a God who comes to and sacrifices His life for His people. It is upside down, paradoxical, and GLORIOUS! And YOU, dear sister in Christ, are being called to play an important, vital role in the story. He has SO MUCH MORE for you than the American Dream (i.e., cute house, handsome husband, and designer clothes). Listen to His words in Isaiah 54:2-3:
Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities.
He wants you to be a part of reclaiming nations and cities for His glory! Remember when Jesus gave instructions to pray for, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” while He was on earth? He was instructing us to pray for the establishment of His kingdom here and now and inviting us to be a part. So many of us cling to this false idea that our salvation is simply fire insurance allowing us to live for ourselves until we die. You were created for so much more! He wants to form a shape you as a vessel for His glory, a Mighty Warrioress equipped to do damage to the kingdom of darkness.
“See, it is I who created the blacksmith
who fans the coals into flame
and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord. (Isa. 54:16-17)
As you join into this adventure, you become a part of this beautiful, breath-taking structure being built…the Global Church. He promises to redeem and restore every nasty, horrible dark part of your life that you hope no one ever knows about so that His power, might, and glory will be displayed not just for you but those yet living in darkness.
Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
your foundations with lapis lazuli.
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.
All your children will be taught by the Lord,
and great will be their peace.
In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
it will not come near you.
If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
whoever attacks you will surrender to you. (Isa. 54:11-17)
May these precious promises from Isaiah 54 speak to your heart and draw you into an intimacy with Christ that is characterized, as Laurie described, by sacrifice, vulnerability, risk, work, and ultimately death to self. In return, He promises an abundant, rich, and rewarding life in Christ.