A number of years ago I decided to listen to the whole Bible throughout the Lenten season. I knew I needed an accountability partner to stay on course and finish. I found one and the two of us set out. There were parts of the journey that were delightful, but then as you waded into the Old Testament there was this repeated theme that emerged – the children of Israel’s rebellion and God’s constant desire to extend them grace. In fact, by the time I got to the New Testament, I was craving a Messiah. It almost seemed unbelievable that God would repeatedly rescue and redeem his children.
It seems as a rule, difficult times surface two things in us. On one hand an incredible compassionate caring side emerges, where neighbours who before were disinterested in each other now stop to talk and take an interest. Yet equally incredible is the gremlins that start surfacing inside of us, ready to take us and those around us out. As leaders, we learn early that we need to keep it all together, and hide the unpleasant stuff, yet those up close see and know, and hopefully they are more like God than gremlins, and they too choose to extend grace.
In this CoVid season I have been working my way through the book of Isaiah in The Passion Translation. It is a rich feast. As many of you know Isaiah is like a mini-Bible. The first 39 chapters represent the Old Testament and our desperate need for grace, and then chapter 40 on is all about the Messiah, the source of our salvation.
We are all familiar with Isaiah 30:15-26 where once again God is pleading with his children to quiet themselves, and come to Him and rest and He will refresh. For some reason as leaders this is a discipline that rarely comes naturally to us. We have to master it. If you are at a place on the journey where you need some grace, or some rest, can I suggest you get your favourite summer beverage, find a quiet place, and have a gander through Isaiah 30? I’ve put the text here from The Passion Translation. I’ve also added some questions that I found helpful in sorting out the strains and the struggles that were emerging in my heart. Invite the Spirit to tend your soul.
Take a few minutes to read through this passage, and hi-light the words of encouragement the Spirit has for you today. Notice prior to these verses in vs. 15 Yahweh begs Israel to come but they refuse. Yet He persists, wanting to bless them with His rich refreshment. In your tiredness, don’t rush into more busyness, but come and allow him to refresh you.
After you’ve read through it, including the footnotes, then walk your way through these questions.
- Where are you God in what I’m facing right now? Vs. 20
- What are the lessons you are wanting me to learn? 20
- What are the next steps you are pointing me towards? Vs. 21
- What are the idols I’ve been trusting in that I need to discard? 22
- What resources are yet to be provided for the bountiful harvest that awaits? 23-26
- What bruises and wounds have I incurred recently, that God wants to heal? 26b
I’ve also included here a podcast from Carey Nieuwhof entitled “YOU HAVE ONE BODY AND YOUR LEADERSHIP LIVES IN IT.” In this podcast Carey interviews a British Nigerian immigrant woman leader. It is quite striking. In this day of racism, gender imbalance, and just general chaos, I encourage you to listen in. Jo Saxton is a gifted speaker, and in this podcast she will challenge you and you’ll be encouraged on numerous fronts.
Rev. Kathryn Klassen