Let’s say your name is Isaiah (apologies if you’re female). Let’s say the world as you know it is crashing down around you—your homeland in ashes, your friends and family either dead or captives in a foreign land. You look around and see the few who remain—starving, in rags, living in terror and tears. Let’s say God has already predicted this punishment, this abandonment, and you know it’s deserved and there is no escape. What comes out of your mouth, Isaiah?
O Lord you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.
You have made the city a heap of rubble…the foreigners’ stronghold a city no more…
You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat…
On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples…
On this mountain He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples…He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.*
Whoa, Isaiah. What are you talking about? Look around you. What you just said looks nothing like the chaos and pain that surrounds you. Are you in denial? Are you crazy?
Or, Isaiah, do you see something that we don’t see? It seems that what you see in that future reality gives you reason to burst into a song of thankfulness to a God who is perfectly faithful. Perhaps taking a look at that future reality brings hope in the chaos of the here-and-now.
Ok, you can come back to your real name and your real world now. What threatens you in your mission world or personal life? What wears you down or makes you feel vulnerable? Fast-forward in your mind, through God’s promises, to a future reality where all those things are conquered. Take a good look around you in that reality…and thank God.
What is it that you really need? You’ve prayed until you’re almost embarrassed to pray about it anymore—but your desperation hasn’t faded. Fast-forward to that time when all needs are met and your cup is running over…and thank God.
Who is it that you are separated from by impossible distance or even death? Who would you give anything to see in perfect health of mind and body? What would it be like to forget how to cry? Fast-forward once again to that place, that future reality when God restores interrupted relationships and wipes away all tears…and thank God.
The truth is, no matter what it looks like now, you can be thankful, by faith, for that future reality God has promised. You can say with Isaiah:
Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.
With eyes of faith, see your future day of deliverance and thank God for it, because future gratitude equals present hope.
*Verses selected from Isaiah 25:1-8 (NIV).
Twice a month, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers. This was inspired by a worship talk given at NAD staff worship by Pastor Dave Gemmell on Nov. 12, 2014. It was written by Andrea Keele and sent out on November 17, 2014.