This passage would be a good description of my journey this year at Na 08. Isaiah 30 talks about the rebellious children of Israel. It talks about their plans and steps that they take which are not guided by the Lord. It speaks of self-sufficient children. It speaks of me.
I approached Na this year expecting a refreshing time with God, expecting to glory in Him greater by seeing Him work in amazing ways (expecting Him to answer my prayers because I had “asked correctly”). Instead, He showed me my sin. He showed me my utter inability to change myself and He showed me my hopeless state when I’m left to my own legalistic ability. He waited to be gracious. He waited in order to humble me. He waited as I grew angry. He did not cast me off; He waited to show me my great need. And when I cried to Him to be my hope, He graciously heard my cry.
But even there, the answer was not as expected. I thought I’d see a feast, yet I found an answer in the form of “bread of affliction and water of adversity” (Is. 30). Instead of “rest,” His response to me was simply “Emily, be faithful in the little things I’ve called you to. Don’t be so tied to expecting great blessings that you miss my hand working when you cannot trace it. I’m working now too, don’t be so proud that you miss it. Repent of your legalism and pride, and keep walking in faith, looking to Me as your support.
Na 06 and Na 07 were “rooms.” I walked into those conferences and was overwhelmed with what I saw and felt and tasted – I was overwhelmed with who my God is. I left those rooms changed forever by what I saw there. I have spent 2 years gleaning from those experiences. This year was radically different. I expected a room yet encountered a door. I expected power in “earthquake-like” ways, yet I was simply reminded of the truths that I had become familiar with.
At first glance, it did not seem as impressive or even an answer at all. But I believe that God will use (and is using) that door to open up a deeper longing for Him in the coming weeks and months.
He is my answer. His Word is what brings life. His Spirit brings my dead heart to life. He loved me first.
Enter through that door and find life and rest. Bask in the greatness found there. Rejoice in the patience of the Savior.
In faith, and love, and ev’ry grace,
Might more of his salvation know,
And seek more earnestly his face.
‘Twas he who taught me thus to pray,
And he, I trust has answer’d pray’r;
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.
I hop’d that in some favour’d hour,
At once he’d answer my request:
And by his love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this. he made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in ev’ry part.
Yea more, with his own hand he seem’d
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Cross’d all the fair designs I schem’d,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this, I trembling cry’d,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“‘Tis in this way,” the Lord reply’d,
“I answer pray’r for grace and faith.”
“These inward trials I employ,
From self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou mayst seek thy all in me.”