Wednesday in the Word
It's been a hot minute since I've done a Wednesday in the Word, but I think this time in quarantine is the perfect time for me to really strap on my blogging boots and commit to working on this series, and posting more regularly. These past two years have been a lot of slacking off; to be fair, a lot of it was driven by illness, which then led to a lack of motivation to restart, and... I digress. I was doing my QT today, and I felt like it was just so relevant to today, and I felt really pushed to share.
I've been working through New Morning Mercies, and today's verse was in Isaiah 55:1-7. I found this chapter had very relevant analogies to today's circumstances.
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare." (v.1-2)
I think it's interesting that in a literal sense, this is what is happening; a lot of people and organizations are banding together so that the needy and poor are able to receive their bare minimums. If you don't have much, why would you spend money on empty calories? Before getting quarantined, I was able to go to Target a couple times, and the only semi-full aisles were the chip and candy sections. It really shows how people recognize the priority in buying substantial food, rather than junk food. Sustenance is crucial for physical life, but it is the same as in our spiritual lives.
We must also be diligently fed, spiritually as well. This analogy of free water and food is exactly what the Gospel message is - it gives to those who recognize they are thirsty and in need of Christ. Salvation is free - and as luxurious as wine and milk (at the time these were pretty luxurious), and it is as necessary as water. Why spend on useless things? We already have all that we need and more in Christ!
"Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor." (v.3-5)
Again, this references the Gospel - hearing this message is life giving, and here, God promises the new covenant, and calling these recipients of His living water to be leaders - to have the power to summon nations we do not know, and have nations come to us, simply because we have received a splendor from God.
This splendor can be in the form of actual riches: gems and jewels, gold and cold hard cash, real estate and cars. But what really is the splendor of God? Ultimately, isn't it His unconditional, perfect love, manifested in the form of the New Covenant built on the blood of Christ? Through the Gospel message, we have received atonement from our sins, boundless grace and mercy, and perfect love - all of these we are undeserving, and probably not expectant of. After all, how does it make sense? How can one believe that almighty God would sacrifice His perfect Son on the cross to die for the sins of all humanity? How does it make sense that God would do such a thing, when he could just wipe us all out and create perfect human beans with perfect obedience and perfect fellowship with Him? It doesn't make sense, except that He did this for the sake of love. We love, only because God loved us first (1 John 4:19).
But these riches are not physically seen by others, so how can we live our lives in such a way that people can see this precious gift we have? How do we show this love we have received?
"Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon." (v. 6-7)
The answer is in this: forgiveness. Even the wicked can change their ways, and Christ's sacrifice on the cross has also been for their atonement. During these times of pandemic, we are still trying to feed everyone; we don't discriminate against criminals and those who have wronged us, right? When we donate, we don't ask organizations to make sure the neighbor who killed our rose bush won't receive aid. We don't take food from the jail to feed the poor. We feed everyone we can; and likewise with the Gospel, it isn't about who we judge is worthy of receiving, but simply that the Lord has provided.
I think in these times, especially while quarantined, we as Christians must be so much more aware of our actions and words. There's a lack of contact, so what little contact we do have means so much more. How are we stepping into the roles of making sure everyone is fed physically? How are we showing that we are not lacking, because we are so full spiritually? What are steps that we can take?
These are things I'm honestly still meditating on, though I will probably fall asleep shortly after posting this. I think more than anything, this devotional has encouraged me to look less into myself and my own frustrations, but to the greater need of the world, especially at this time. I've been really frustrated as of late about how often I've been sick. I feel like I've just been sick for the entirety of 2020 thusfar! But that would be an unfair and ungrateful assessment; I had more than half of February and March illness-free, and these are things I need to be thankful for. Right now, I am anxious about my current health situation; I've never had strong lungs, I've had pneumonia twice, and needed breathing assistance with hospital equipment because my regular inhaler wasn't strong enough. I'm scared that if I am positive for COVID-19, what if my immune system isn't strong enough to fight it? Or if my lungs aren't strong enough to get through this? But the fact is, things haven't escalated to that point, so why am I worrying ahead of time? I just have a cough and mild fever right now; what of those who are currently hospitalized? Their families? God has already given me the ultimate gift, what more can I ask for? I have nothing more that I need to receive, I only have an abundance to give, so others can also know what true satisfaction is: it's not in good health nor wealth nor stability, but in Christ.
I hope you're all staying safe and healthy at this time. Please stay home, if possible. And if you do need to step out, please wear a face mask and practice social distancing!