Friday, August 7, 2009

Isaiah 58 Vacation

Is. 58:10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11And the LORD will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.

I have been talking with my sweet wife about what I am now calling an "Isaiah 58 vacation". We have been to some pretty fun places in our lives, through work and then just on our own; Italy, France, Austria, and Hawaii to name the top fun places. I will focus on Hawaii for poignancy sake in this post.

When I think of Hawaii, and I would guess most people would voice the same sentiment, I think of relaxing, doing little or nothing but hanging out at the pool or beach and just resting so our bodies have some down time. I do have some friends who try to literally engage in every activity there is, but I think they are the exception.

So we go, get warmed up in the winter months and then come back to our normal schedules and busy life. We have some memories, we did get to relax and that is about it. But, I for one, have not really found those vacations to be all that I would hope them to be. There has always been something missing. I think that something missing is in Isaiah 58.

What if we took an Isaiah 58 vacation, and instead of going someplace to find refreshing for ourselves, we went to give refreshing to someone else? It seems that God is asking, maybe even telling us to do that in this passage.

In this chapter He is giving, through Isaiah, a list of things we are to do to help others who are in need and oppressed. He is telling us He wants us to take care of those who have less food, freedom and clothing than we do. But He doesn't ask us to simply give ourselves away and then just leave us empty. When we do it God's way He is telling us that He can change it all around. We pour out ourselves for His sake into the lives of others and He will make sure we are filled. How is it that we can pour ourselves out and not get empty? It has to be that God does the work.

Is your family life dark, gloomy, dry, scorched, weak? Is your small group, or even your church lacking direction or does it seem like God is not actually there? Do you want to be the repairer of the breach and the restorer of the streets? Maybe we should take God's promise to fill us up, to make us watered gardens, to make light shine in our lives and let Him have our time of "refreshing". I personally want God to answer me when I call. Maybe if we give it to Him, to be spent on those who don't have any way of returning, He will give us refreshing from being poured out.

I have never known God to not keep His promises and I don't think He will start now. Have you thought about taking an Is. 58 vacation or weekend? Have you done it? Would you be willing to share your experience if you have? Did God keep His promise to you? I would love to hear about it.

I want to be truly refreshed. I want to be used by God to help lift the burdens of those who can not lift them themselves. We, Christians, are supposed to be burden lifters, not adders. How are we doing?

1 comment:

bean said...

I think this is my favorite of your posts EVER. EVER! (I added the second dramatic EVER just for you.)

I'm going to be thinking about this a lot. Thanks for writing.