For anyone who has ever wanted to go their own way instead of the Lord’s way, this passage is like a breath of fresh air. We’ve all had times when we felt like our way would be easier, safer, smarter, more efficient, or more respectable. Most of the time, we don’t even recognize what we’re doing. The farthest thing from our mind is that we’re telling our Father, the Lord and Creator of the universe, that we know better. But obviously, we don’t.
In this passage, God brings it up. He assures us that He will forgive us for our past mistakes. But He also tells us that we don’t actually know what we’re talking about. “‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” (v.9) When we’re honest with ourselves and God, we can admit we don’t know any more than God. And when we’re willing to admit God knows best, we can finally stop analyzing our circumstances for our perfect answer and just relax. God wants us to trust Him just like He wants us to follow Him, because it’s what’s best. When we trust Him, we can truly live courageously sold-out for Him.
But it can be hard to keep going when we feel trapped in a fog, surrounded by confusing and depressing circumstances. God continues on to tell us about His commands. When He speaks, His words never go without an answer. His commands cannot be ignored, and even animals and plants bow to His will. And His will is good and desirable for us. Only when we are in God’s will can we be completely satisfied. The Lord tells us Himself that “…so is my word that goes from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” and “[y]ou will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.” (v.11 and 12a) Even Jesus said, “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” (John 17:13) Even when it’s hard, exhausting, discouraging, disappointing, and painful, we can trust not that God is on the way, but better: He’s already here. He’s been here the whole time, and He doesn’t enjoy putting us through struggles. We need to trust Him, that He has our best interests at heart and will do what’s best. There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.
Finally God tells us He can bring good out of the otherwise barren looking places around us and even in our lives. Things that we shrug off and think will never amount to anything—those are some of the greatest places God can use. He took us and made us new, didn’t He? We were hopeless and guilty of sin, but our Father made a way for us. He can turn even the messiest, plainest, craziest, lowliest, and most forgotten places of our life into the biggest, greatest, brightest lights for Him. “This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.” (v.13b) And we can always look back on those areas God turned around as reminders of His goodness, power and love.
So even when it doesn’t feel good, we can trust our good, good Father. Even when we can’t see, we know He can. And even when we think something–anything–is hopeless, we have faith He can turn it around for Him. Thank You Father we don’t have to worry!
Thank You! Thank You that we can trust in You! Please don’t let us waste this amazing gift from You! Please guide us and teach us in Your will. And please give us willing hearts. Whatever it is holding us back, i pray You bring it to light and help us deal with it the way You want us to. And please help us be driven by our love for You to do Your will. And please help us praise You with willing, passionate, loving, and thankful hearts! In Jesus’ Name i pray, Amen! Hallelujah!
Times can be tough, I know. God also knows. This passage is one of God’s precious and great promises to us. Read it one more time, remembering that His arms are wrapped around you now. Take heart in Him.