“I have received a distressing message: “The deceiver deceives, the destroyer destroys. Attack, you Elamites! Lay siege, you Medes! I will put an end to all the groaning!’” (Isaiah 21:2, NET Bible)
There comes a time when we must simply get out of God’s way. Life, this world, creation; none of it is really about us anyway. Where we run into trouble is when we forget this. Instead of working for the Lord, we think we are working for ourselves. When this occurs is when “The deceiver deceives, the destroyer destroys.” That is when we are tricked into doing the devil’s work and the world around us groans in misery. Our lives become agonizing instead of joyful as our Lord wishes them to be.
Then what do we do? We pray that our lives be placed back on course, of course. Oh how brave we are; or foolish. Because, God will answer our prayers. He wants us to follow right paths toward His perfect will, after all. So, if we are truly sincere in this wish to be placed back on course to God’s Way, He will aid us in this endeavor.
Ouch! It can be an excruciatingly painful experience, too. Ask yourself, “What is there in my life that I need to correct.” Think about it. Do you really want God to do the cleaning in your life? Or can you do it (at least some of it) yourself. Divine intervention sounds good until you are at the receiving end of it. Just ask the Babylonians in today’s passage. God sent armies against them. They were attacked and besieged all around. Sound familiar?
Make no mistake. God will intervene and even the best of us has some major issues blocking us from the absolute presence of God. Such deep, personal cleansing of one’s soul is not a pleasant experience. Often it is necessary. Many times it seems terrible as we travel through, even unsurvivable, at times. Sometimes it will be a person that is sent. Other times, there will occur an event of such magnitude that it is almost unbelievable that a good and gracious God will allow it to take place. Just remember that God is with you even (especially?) in those times. Take heart in His promise that He will not test you beyond your capacity to endure. He is a merciful Lord.
Keep praying. Keep studying, and by all means, keep worshipping Jesus. Cry out to Him! Reach for Him! Listen for Him. Heed His words. Whatever you do, don’t look back and don’t give up hope. Reach for the outstretched hand of Christ and, having grabbed a hold of it, never let go!
"Lord Jesus, cleanse us deeply. Purify our very souls to reflect your glorious presence in and around each of us! In your holy Name we pray, AMEN."
Seek the Lord in prayer, today. Ask for His presence in your life and take heart, for He is with you now and always.
Christopher Randolph holds a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He currently lives with his family in Colorado.