Hope in Unsettling Times

Darkness doesn’t prevent the Lord.

Isaiah is a prophet who brought some shocking news to God’s people. Israel was going to fall into the hands of Assyria; they would have difficult days ahead. The time would seem unsettling and dark, but God would not forget about his people.

Today may be an unsettling time. COVID19 is still present in our lives causing interruptions. Other problems have reached a boiling point. It does not seem good headlines exist in the news, but God has not forgotten about his people.

In chapter 8, Isaiah says, “The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, ‘Don’t call everything a conspiracy like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. Make the Lord of Heaven’s armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear; he is the one who should make you tremble. He will keep you safe.”

He promises to keep those who are faithful safe. Isaiah goes on in verse 16, “Preserve the teaching of God, and trust the instructions of those who follow me. I will wait for the Lord, who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in him.”

Isaiah recognizes God is the one constant hope. Hope in anything or anyone else is fallible, but hope in the Lord is unfailing. Isaiah was living in an anxious time, but he centered his hope on the Lord.

“Look to God’s instructions and teachings,” Isaiah encourages in 8:20-21. “People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry, and because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their god. They will look up to Heaven and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.”

The next time life seems hopeless and you are plagued by yesterday’s mistakes, try looking to the hope and grace offered by the Lord. Partake in his grace, and allow it to wash over the feelings of hopelessness and despair you may be encountering. Isaiah’s promise is as good today as the day he originally prophesied.

The Lord offers hope to his people even in the most unsettling times.

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Responding to Change

One key to getting through change.

Raise your hand if you like change. My hand is not up. In fact, I have it tied down just in case you thought it could possibly be going up. I have a strong dislike for change. I’m happiest in routine; a daily routine that fits into a weekly routine. Everything is better when it fits into the routine.

I imagine you’re the same. No one cares for change. We like to have the “when” and “where” of life. Change is unsettling; however, it is a requirement of life.

Change is inevitable; it will come. Our routine will be disrupted much throughout life. Illnesses, lost jobs, financial struggles, heartbreak, and many other disruptions will occur. The change may even force us into uncharted territory. It’s unnerving and we can’t control the change, but we can control how we respond.

The Bible gives us the example of Abraham to help us understand how to respond to change. Abraham was called to leave everything he knew. Abraham was to leave home and go into uncharted territory. This was a huge change for Abraham.

With his family and belongings, Abraham left his routine and headed into the unknown. He was uncertain of the path. He was unsure of the destination. His routine was fluctuating. For Abraham, this one change unsettled everything. The only certainty Abraham had was the Lord.

Abraham knew the Lord was with him. He knew the Lord would guide him, so he responded to the change with faith.

“It was by faith,” Hebrews 11:8 says, “Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.”

Abraham’s faith allowed him to focus on what was to come rather than the change.

Hebrews 11:10 says, “Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations. A city designed and built by God.”

Right now, our routines are being disrupted. Many of us are scrambling to adjust in an evolving situation. It can be unsettling. While we may be uncertain of everything else, we can be sure of one thing. The Lord is with us.

The Lord will guide us in this uncharted territory. The Lord will get us to our destination just like he did Abraham. Like Abraham, we need to remember change is only temporary. The Lord has something better for us on the other side.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit.”

You and I may hate it, but change is inevitable. Abraham’s story reminds a faithful response is best in these moments.

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