Birthday, A Day Early

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” (Isaiah 35:1-4 ESV). Tomorrow will be my 68th birthday! Believe me when I say that is something of a surprise to me. There have been enough near brushes with death that it is always a little surprise that I am still here. And, of course there is always the continued growth of that longing to be home, my real home. Heaven continues to grow in its appeal for me. That is not to say that I do not thoroughly enjoy here, but that’s the story for tomorrow. However, there are mornings when I wake up feeling strangely out of sync. It is almost as if I am somehow vulnerable. It’s always vague. Like the photo I feel like I am just barely hanging on to the rough fence of life by a thin, delicate wisp of the feather’s vane. Life can feel like that at times. As I look back over the nearly fifty years since I became a Christian, I am amazed how the Lord has protected my life. The temptation to quit because of the high expectations and demands has not won. That’s the surprising part of my life. I am not anyone special. I don’t have any secret strength to tap into as I face those moments of disappointment or challenge. My only resource has been what Spurgeon calls the “I wills” and the “I shalls” of God. Instead of letting me sink into fear, God has always answered my cries with concrete promises. Instead of letting me sink into a paralysis of fear, or run to a mirage of greener grass, he has awakened a cry for help and then answered with a concrete promise. There have been many examples in life. Tomorrow’s devotional will detail one of those; however, let me draw you to Isaiah again. In our reading the prophet says: They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”  (vv. 3-4). God has often delivered that message to His children. He does so to me regularly. His desire is for you to hear that same call. Take his hand proffered for your protection. Feel the strength of his promise to work EVERYTHING to your good. You’re not merely a feather clinging to the fence. The “fence” is clinging to...

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