As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out 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. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Monday, January 10, 2011

When God Repeats Himself

A few years ago I asked the Lord for His word for the year, and He gave me Isaiah 54. Fabulous chapter full of promises and wondrous things. I was so excited! Throughout the year, I prayed that chapter over my family and myself. I declared it aloud from my deck. I just knew there was going to be a major turn around in my life and all the wonderful things in that chapter would manifest because, after all, God cannot lie, so this was as good a done.

At the end of the year, none of it was done. In fact, instead of a year full of fulfilled promises, it was a painful year, one of the hardest up to that point. There were no no manifestations of promises, no major changes, no peace and healing...only confusion, disillusionment, and the harsh reality that I had somehow failed.

After all, God can't lie, but none of His promises had manifested, so the only conclusion to be drawn is that I had failed. Either I had done something wrong or I had not done something right, but somewhere along the way I messed up huge, and my mistake, or mistakes, had kept God's Word from manifesting.

As the beginning of the next year drew close, I asked for a Word. I was not remotely amused when the Lord gave me Isaiah 54 again. Maybe He was giving me a second chance to get it right. Surely I could find some consolation in that.

Except, I didn't get it right.

The year slipped by, and despite my fasting, praying, declaring, claiming, and warring in the Spirit, things continued to deteriorate. By the end of the year, I was beyond confused. Honestly, I felt like God had toyed with me for two years, holding out a carrot of hope, peace (and I desperately wanted peace instead of the constant mental and emotional turmoil), and healing. Instead of good things and increase, I was watching my world collapse around me, and nothing I did made a difference. Not only did God not fix it. He didn't tell me how to fix it. I didn't understand what God was doing, but I was no impressed. I didn't understand how a good God could make promises for which I had begged and then not keep His Word. What kind of Father promises the child their heart's desire for Christmas and then gives them an empty stocking? That's what I felt God had done.

Last night, I was praying about the children. My heart is broken for them as their hearts ache and they try to understand and make sense of things. I've seen my care-free, effervescent daughter struggle to trust God because she felt He made promises He has not kept. She wrestles with questions and anger and doubts.

I understand.

As I leaned over my kitchen sink and let the tears drip onto the white ceramic, I told God how concerned I am about the children's grief, hurt, and anger. I miss the joyous, easy going children they were seven months ago before their world collapsed around them. More than that, I worry about their healing and the effects on their futures.

Oh, God, do not leave them here, in this pain, with this distrust. Restore the joy of trust and hope. Restore the peace of knowing there are those who keep their word, who love without taking it back, who can be trusted with their hearts. Oh, God, return them to a place of peace and joy and faith.
Immediately, I heard a line of a verse from Isaiah 54, "Great will be your children's peace."

This morning as I looked up the chapter to remind myself of the whole verse (you'd think I'd remember it after reading it virtually every day for two years, wouldn't you?), I again wondered what I had done wrong that the promises had not manifested, that two years had gone by without seeing the fulfillment of God's Word to me, and then I heard Him speak again.

"I said it twice because I wanted it established.
I didn't want it you...or anyone else.
When I speak, it is not merely to the earthly or the spiritual.
It is to both.
I said it twice because I wanted you to know what I will do for you
so you would have hope despite the present circumstances,
and I said it twice so the demons would know the rules and boundaries set up around you and your home.
I declared it as law over you,
and nothing can be done against it.
It is like a decree over your door that says these rules dictate acceptable behavior for and toward this home, person, and family. No other activity or outcome has any measure to take place."

I stopped and considered the promises He has spoken over the children and myself, the promises for our lives and our home, for our influences and our blessings. They are not small things. They are wondrous and "beyond your imagination"-sized. They are good, filled with hope, immersed in peace, and generous in healing.

I declared it as a law over you...and no other outcome has any measure to take place.

That is definitely worth repeating.

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