Sufficient for Every Step
Whether close to God, or far from Him, each of us is currently on a journey. Some of us are in a place where the plans and promises which have been spoken over our lives are now actually being revealed- that’s an exciting time. Some of us are on the cusp of something new, getting ready for what’s to come. Although also exciting, that can be a time of hard work. Others of us may well be in a place of pain- perhaps grieving a recent loss, struggling with finance, with health. Pain is a difficult part of our journey, whichever way it hits us.
Today I want to remind you that, wherever you are on your journey, God’s grace is sufficient for that place.
I was reminded of this when I read a portion of scripture from Isaiah, chapter 40 recently. The words read as follows:
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord's hand
double for all her sins.
3 A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Now, this passage isn’t speaking about our journey as such, but it certainly addresses God’s heart for His people. It is assumed that this text was written for exiles in Babylonian captivity. These words spoke of hope in what was to come for them. I hope they will do the same for you. Let’s unpack a little bit…
At the beginning of the passage, the word comfort is repeated. If God is choosing to repeat something, you know it’s important. Remember that journey I spoke about at the beginning of the post? Comfort is a big part of that, isn’t it? When I first re-committed my life to the Lord, there were lots of things which didn’t quite add up for me. I had to repent of certain things, I asked so many questions, I wrestled with what I thought was best even when it blatantly contradicted God’s best. But through all of that, God was my constant and was most definitely my comfort. I’ve come back to this place of comfort many times. I’m sure you have as well. After a setback or a painful moment, perhaps? That reminder of God’s everlasting arms being sufficient enough to carry you can sometimes be all you need to move forward.
Not that we receive comfort once and for all and never need it again, but sometimes, after a time of experiencing God’s restorative comfort, we can begin to move into a place of preparation. I’m reminded of Hannah’s story, as documented in the book of 1 Samuel, here. After she cries out and pleads with God for a child, she receives word from the priest that God has heard her petition and verse 18 of 1 Samuel, chapter 1, indicates that she ‘went on her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.’ In our portion of text from Isaiah, the preparation part of the passage is talking about the preparation of the land- straightening things out. Things can sometimes be straightened out in our lives a little though, can’t they? Maybe it’s our health- we finally decide to use that gym membership we’ve had for months. Or our finances- we open up a savings account and begin to actually deposit money into it! Whatever preparation looks like for you, I think it’s important to God. We’re called to be stewards- of our lives, of the world around us etc. That’s a big task and God in His self-sufficient presence is right there with us being our strength when we’re weak and our courage when we’re afraid. Even when we get it wrong, His grace is still sufficient, and we go back to ‘comfort’.
In our Isaiah passage, the revelation is the glory of the Lord being revealed to those who had previously been captive. After all of the tears, all of the hard work in preparing themselves for what was to come, God is revealed in all His glory! This is still the ultimate revelation we await today. Jesus appearing to us in His majesty and splendour. But, we see it already in smaller ways, don’t we? This glimpse of what is to come can most certainly give us hope for the future. Perhaps in your journey, you’ve delighted in God’s revelation of His goodness on your wedding day, on getting that promotion, during the birth of your first child. Maybe you’ve seen God’s glory day to day in the rising of the sun or the smile of a loved one. All of these moments reveal to us the goodness of God and strengthen us in those moments of weakness.
Whether you are in a place of needing comfort, preparing for what’s to come or celebrating the goodness of God in something you’ve been blessed with, His grace is consistently sufficient at every step. Enjoy the journey!