About a year ago, the Lord magnified Isaiah 30:15 in my heart, and then asked me what I was going to do with it. That prompting and question started me on a year-long journey getting closer to Jesus that I called, “my quitting time.” Over the past year, the Lord has spoken clearer to me than ever before, and pulled me closer to Him than I’ve ever experienced. But it was just the beginning. He planted the seeds of a passion for meditation, prayer, and discipleship in my heart, stronger than anything I’ve ever known, and He’s asked me to continue learning, practicing and sharing those truths. I have not reached any great milestone in my life to prompt me to now turn back and teach others. I’m still messily trying to understand continual repentance, abiding in Christ, finding confidence in the Lord, and how to share with others. But the Lord has told me that it’s time to talk about it all. So here I am. Talking. With some trepidation. But filled with faith.
When Isaiah 30:15 leaped into my life, it was actually only semi-quoted in a book called “Teaching from Rest” that I had picked up at a homeschooling convention. It said, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” I flipped open my Bible to underline it, and found that this pretty little promise was only the first part of the story. The final sentence is, “But you would not.” That stopped me in my tracks.
It prompted me to read the whole story of the Israelites’ rebellion against God (this instance of it at least). “Woe to the rebellious children! This is the Lord’s declaration. They carry out a plan, but not mine; they make an alliance, but against my will, piling sin on top of sin, without asking my advice” (Isa 30:1). They sought protection from Pharaoh instead of God. They turned toward worldly answers instead of seeking advice from the Lord. I sat on my bed and thought, “Oh my goodness! That’s me!”
I’ve been a Christian since I was 9, and I’ve had dramatic ups and downs in my walk with Him, but was fully restored to Christ in my 20s. At that point, I thought we had a pretty good thing going: I had my daily quiet time, I prayed, I served in ministry at my church, I lead, and was in, many, many Bible studies. But at this particular time, when I encountered the Lord in such a deep way, I was at a point of crisis, and God used that to get my attention. My oldest son was struggling with health problems, and I was dealing with some spiritual decisions about the ministry I was serving in. I was in prayer A LOT. I was also researching, reading books, sticking to a Bible reading plan, looking for additional Bible studies that would help or answer my problems, talking to friends, talking to trusted spiritual leaders. . . . So many “good” things that looked wise and powerful (like Egypt did to the threatened Israelites), but I was spinning in circles with no answers in sight.
With one little verse, God told me to stop. Return to Him. And Rest. He even gave me a promise: I will be saved. He even went on to show me how to be strong during this time: be quiet, have confidence. And if I would not stop, return, rest, and be quiet? Shame and humiliation (verse 3), and complete failure:
Therefore the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message and have trusted in oppression and deceit,
and have depended on them, this iniquity of yours will be like a crumbling gap, a bulge in a high wall whose collapse will
come in an instant–suddenly!” (Isaiah 30: 12-13)
He had my attention. So I stopped. I slowed down my lifestyle, my obligations, my words, my thoughts, my quiet time with Him. I even stopped my Bible reading plan (gasp!). He called me to be quiet, so I sat, in silence, in His presence every day until He told me to move on. He called me to return to Him, so instead of reading through my prescribed plan, I prayed that He show me one verse at a time that He wanted written on my heart. I would read it, think on it, pray about it, watch how it applied to my life every day until the Lord brought me another verse. Sometimes that was a few days later, sometimes, weeks later. Just one verse at a time. I began calling this “meditation.”
Life did not necessarily become easier, but I became stronger in Him. I grew in the understanding of the nature of the Lord (a life-long pursuit!). I grew in my longing for His presence. I grew in knowing who I was in Him. I grew confident in the path He was setting before me. And most importantly, my awe for the mysterious beauty of the sacrifice of Jesus and His role in my life filled my thoughts.
And then, after a time, He called me to start moving again. We are called to be lights in this world! I don’t feel like a light in my own right, but I’m willing to empty myself, and let the Spirit’s light shine from me as best I can. Thank you for joining me here as we journey together toward Christ. I’m excited to share with you what I’ve learned about meditation, prayer, returning to God, and resting in Him, and I’m excited to hear what you have to share with me!