“Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him when He is near.” ~Isaiah 55:6
I am sitting curled up in one of my favorite little places in the Harner house with a clear view out of one the windows beneath the vintage homemade curtains my mom made years ago. Rain was gently meeting the grass, but it is falling with much greater intensity at this moment. My mind is full of thoughts and memories, some older and some new. It is full of the outpouring of blessings our Father lovingly lavishes upon us. These times find their way to the boundless collection that has been these last few days, weeks and months. Reflecting on past moments and considering the lingering of more present ones, the words breathed upon the pages of the word of God are an all-encompassing rock-solid truth. With every passing second, thoughts I have always wished to remember flood in and I am truly overwhelmed with the intimacies of the LORD.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways your ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from Heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” ~Isaiah 55:8-11
My heart simply aches as I try to grasp the amount of times I have met the Lord with disappointment in my heart and pure discontent. Verses 8 and 9 above are two that have been repeated to me for years and years, but it truly can be tough to swallow in some circumstances. Our broken minds believe that we know exactly what is most suitable for us. It is not until recently that I can truly look back on month after month of not understanding what was going on or more importantly, what the purpose was and still is. You may find yourself in this situation or maybe you have in the past. Lately, my heart has beautifully collapsed in the words of verses 10 and 11.
There is something about being curled up inside on a day where rain just comes and doesn’t seem like it is going to end anytime soon. The LORD has an exact purpose for the rain that He sends: “For as the rain and the snow come down from Heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater.” (10) The grounds that are most prepared to receive that rain are the ones that will bear fruit and flourish. The prophet Isaiah conveys the parallel so powerfully with God’s plan for us: “so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (11) Every time I read these words an overwhelming peace, transcending all understanding, releases all anxiousness and fear from my heart. It is so easy to look around at different struggles, trials and even overwhelming blessings that come into your life and immediately begin to build a wall of disappointment, confusion, or fear around your heart. But every moment of our lives has purpose in the sovereign hands of the Creator of the earth and sky. His words and thoughts will accomplish what He purposes in our lives. However, just as He pursues our heart, we must seek His with all that we are. Through an unabashed surrendering pursuit of our Redeemer’s heart, He will begin to reveal His mercies to us.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from Me you can do nothing.” –John 15:5
We are the branches. We are called to live a life abiding in Him- our Vine. A life of abiding is to live in accordance with Him. To know and dwell in accordance with Jesus. This also embodies a heart that relies on Him completely because the branch is completely reliant on the vine. When we live in accordance with Christ, we will begin to have eyes to see His plan laid upon our feet. The fruit of our relationship will begin to be evident as we prepare to receive Him and His outpouring of blessings. Being fully reliant on the Vine will bear fruit- love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness and kindness. (Galatians 5:22). And a branch can only bear fruit when it is connected to its vine.
One of our coaches at FCA camp presented to us this analogy: The sap that flows from the vine into and through the branches is the Holy Spirit that flows through the vine of our Savior, and into the braches of His beloved children. When our heart, soul and mind are deeply rooted in our Redeemer’s heart, He dwells in us. The freedom to have this access to Him has radically transformed and continues to change my life. When the veil was torn in two we began to have the unfathomable opportunity to taste and experience the most precious love every moment of our lives. It is as our hearts begin to grasp this that our steps begin to align with His and our journey becomes evident by His sovereign hand. As our heart desires nothing but to abide by His will, we will find growth in acknowledging Him in all circumstances and trusting and relying on Him unabashedly. It is then that we can begin to prepare our hearts through seeking His will for the rain He will send. The words from His mouth will not return empty, but accomplish that for which He purposes.
Every second of the future is unknown to our feeble, human minds, but it is fully known and already authored by His hands. We are His sheep that He carries close to His heart, and we are the branches rooted in the Vine. Our thoughts and plans for our lives are so miniscule compared to the magnitude of what our LORD has in store for us. We cannot ask or imagine for anything that even compares to His plan, it is so divine.
I have recently found myself sitting embedded in fear of the future as the LORD overwhelms me with what seems like unending blessings. So many that it feels that I can’t even wrap my arms around them all. How sinful and shameful for me to not receive them with rivers flowing of trust and thankfulness in relying on Him to guide me through each of them. But instead, my heart of brokenness has been fighting doubt in my weakness that I am not able. Only the One on the throne can take my hand and equip me to abide by His will and prepare me for His plan in every step of my life. May my heart continue to be after His without ceasing and praise that He may reveal a glimpse of His plan, so that I no longer rest in fear. For His ways are not my ways, neither His thoughts my thoughts. May I call upon Your name with all I am, for You are near. May I rest in Your heights of love and depths of peace, graciously receiving Your blessings, and to know that I can only accomplish Your purposes through nothing but the blood of Jesus.
I have one desire- to follow You until the end.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we who were first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.” ~Ephesians 1:3-14