Lingering When You Would Have None of It

It’s Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day and the internet is having fun figuring that one out. 🙂 I’ll leave the meme’s to handle this one.

Earlier this week, our team was sitting around the table for morning devotions as we do each morning, and our Bibles were open to Isaiah 30:15-18. We were preparing our hearts for this season of Lent where we turn our gaze toward the realities of who we are, who He is, and why He had to come rescue us.

And oh, my friends… How this passage wrecked me!

“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore, you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore, your pursuers will be swift! … Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” –  Isaiah 30:15-18

In the scale of things I absolutely love to give my energy to each day, repentance and rest are admittedly low on that list. Quietness… have you been around me for more than five minutes? 🙂 If we’re friends, you know that one is rare. Trust… do you feel as acutely as I do how tempting it is to question nearly everything?

How is the pain and discomfort of lingering in the realities of my sin and expressing remorse to my Holy God connected to real rest? And how is quietness going to help me feel strong? I so understand how easy it was for the children of Israel to “have none of it.”

After assessing their circumstances, their “strategic” giftings got to work and they figured swift horses would be the way out of this one. Surely manufacturing movement away from the source of what threatened them would be their salvation and strength – not lingering in His presence… not confessing their inability to handle it… not quietly listening for His Words of compassion…. They would have none of it.

Gut check. They are me. SO many times, I would have none of it. How often do I look to “swift horses” to carry me away from the threat or discomfort, rather than get a long look in the mirror at the realities of my sin… than resting in His presence as His beloved, invited daughter… than quietly waiting for Him to move on my behalf… than trusting Him to resurrect what feels like ashes around me AND in me?

It comes down to what I believe… is He really a God that LONGS to be gracious to me? That He will, in fact, rise up to show me His compassion because He is actually just? Is my faith in swift horses or in a Sovereign LORD?

As we enter this season of lingering in the realities of why He had to come atone for what we could never fulfill on our own, may we linger a while in repentance and rest, quietness and trust. May we release our swift horses. May we truly know the blessing of waiting on Him.

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