Like most people, I prefer to be comfortable. When it comes to temperature, furniture, and clothing, comfort is always best. What about dealing with situations and interacting with people? In those cases, embracing growing pains and the growth that comes with them is always preferable to complacency. This afternoon I was reading Isaiah 64 and found an interesting correlation to current events.
Life in this fallen world today can certainly be described as tumultuous. Even the United States is seeing social unrest unlike any other period during my life-time. As I look around I’m reminded of the first three verses of Psalm 2.
Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!” [NASB]
The language used here evokes a roaring tumult as the ocean crashes against the immovable rocks of the shore. As the nations of the earth increasingly rebel against God and the constraints of His Word, chaos follows. Take a look at Isaiah 64:1-2.
Oh, that You would rend the heavens [and] come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence–
As fire kindles the brushwood, [as] fire causes water to boil– To make Your name known to Your adversaries, [That] the nations may tremble at Your presence![NASB]
The nations in an “uproar” in Psalms and “trembling” in Isaiah are related Hebrew words (ragaz in Isaiah and ragash in Psalms). As the return of Christ becomes closer, the uproar and trembling becomes more pronounced. His presence causes them.
In light of the shaking, vain plots, and rebellion against the immovable shoreline created by God’s Word, our natural tendency will be to seek peace in the storm. We will want to be steady in the shaking, and rightly so. A few verses later in Isaiah 64:4 we find out some exciting news.
For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.[NASB]
That is exciting! In light of the shaking, He promises incomprehensible intervention on behalf of those who wait for His coming. But, let’s look a little farther down the chapter and find out more about the one who “waits for Him”. Verse 8 uses the analogy of a Potter and His clay.
But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.[NASB]
While it is true we will want to be at peace in the storm around us, don’t confuse peace with comfort. It is not comfortable for clay in the hands of the Potter. The lot of clay is stretching, shaping, pressure and heat. John C. Maxwell says, “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” We can definitely have peace in the midst of the storms of life and be steady on our rock solid foundation even as the sea foams around us, but don’t expect to be comfortable there.
Paul refers back to Isaiah 64:4 when he says, “eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and have not entered into the heart of man all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” In order to move into the plan He has prepared, we’ve got to become the vessel He is shaping us to be. Surrender to Him, ask Him to mold you, but don’t ask lightly because He will stretch you to do it. It’s uncomfortable but it’s a good thing.