Isaiah 32:14-17 (ESV)
For the palace is forsaken,
the populous city deserted;
the hill and the watchtower
will become dens forever,
a joy of wild donkeys,
a pasture of flocks;
until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
This is the message of Isaiah 32, “The palace is forsaken….until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high.” God’s discipline of his people is for the purpose of restoration. Often in the midst of the pain we cannot see the promise. But God is faithful. “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).
How can this possibly work out for good? I don’t know. I can’t see the future. I can’t see the plan of God. The pain is sometimes so dark I can hardly see to take another step. Yet I can trust that God is there in the darkness. He has not abandoned us. God says to his people, “Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deut 31:6). Those words found again in Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” These words are from the same God who said that he was going to judge his people. He will discipline them, but he will never abandon them.
What hard things are you facing today? I have friends who have lost a child. I have friends who live with constant, debilitating pain. I have friends who see no hope for their future. I have friends facing cancer. I have friends dealing with the pain of abuse and rejection. I have friends who struggle with addictions every day of their lives. I know people who wake up every morning to another dark, dreary day lived in the shadow of hopelessness and helplessness. I don’t understand why, but I know that God has not abandoned them.
Whether darkness is the result of sin, or the result of living in a broken world, pain is still pain. Yet God is there in the midst of the pain. God is there in the darkness. He has not abandoned you. Know that in the blackest, darkest night when you can feel nothing but the dark, God is still there. One day the place forsaken will become the place where the Spirit of the living God is poured out and you will find his peace.