Poor Aisley. Middle child. Last to get her picture in the blog! This is from the morning of the TX state track meet in Austin last Saturday. She was much less happy with me after a day in the 97 degree heat with 89% humidity! She'll probably take a pass next year.
She's a delight. Gentle, quiet, sweet smile, loves little ones, unsure of herself in some areas...completely confident in others! It's some of those confident areas that are giving us a few fits as she gets closer to that 13 age. One that's been coming up lately is having her doubt my words. The conversation may be about something as vital as what time it is or whether she took a shower the night before. But more and more she's pushing back as to whether or not my word is sure.
I'll give her the right to be unsure from time to time, though. After all, she's lived with me for a while. I've been wrong a time or two...or three. But it's a different thing altogether when we doubt God. I've been writing about Isaiah 40, God's words of comfort to Judah. I've been thinking today about the effect Isaiah's words from God had on the people. The least we could say is that it didn't "take" with them, know what I mean? They didn't return from the exile never to turn their back on God again. How can we be different? What needs to happen in us so that God's words don't fall on deaf ears? What do we need to do to "prepare the way of the Lord" (Is. 40:3)?
One area to address is our hesitancy to believe God. We, like the father from Mark 9, cry out..we believe; Lord, help our unbelief! The way I usually put it is: I know He can. I just don't know that He will. But sometimes mixed in there is more than doubting His actions. Sometimes I doubt that He is willing to care about me. I doubt His compassion. His mercy. His concern. His genuine love for me and His care about my suffering. I forget that Jesus came to be the one who would suffer so that I would have a sympathetic high priest. Not one that is removed and simply pitying the underlings, but one who is greatly moved by the sufferings of His people...for He Himself suffered, unjustly, horrifically, and completely for my sins...not His.
The ladies at girltalk have given us a great quote this past week from a man named J. C. Ryle who was born in the early 1800's. He was an evangelical leader in the 19th century who wrote prolifically. One of my favorites is a tract on prayer. As we head this week toward thinking of God's words of declaration from Isaiah 40, prayerfully consider these words. Allow the Holy Spirit to do His good work of making straight a highway for the Spirit of God to bear fruit in your life...
“Reader, if God has given you His only begotten Son, beware of doubting His kindness and love, in any painful providence of your daily life! Never allow yourself to think hard thoughts of God. Never suppose that He can give you anything which is not really for your good. Remember the words of Paul: ‘He who spared not His own Son—but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things’ (Romans 8:32).
See in every sorrow and trouble of your earthly pilgrimage the hand of Him who gave Christ to die for your sins! That hand can never smite you except in love! He who gave His only begotten Son for you, will never withhold anything from you which is really for your good. Lean back on this thought and be content. Say to yourself in the darkest hour of trial, ‘This also is ordered by Him who gave Christ to die for my sins. It cannot be wrong. It is done in love. It must be well.’"