I’m sure most of us want to do what is right, what God would want us to do. Sometimes the choices before us are clear-cut right and wrong. More often, though, decisions are not so easy. There may be more than two paths from which to choose. Several of the options may contain both positives and negatives. We don’t want to do the wrong things, but how do we know which right thing is the best thing to choose? Life is a lot more gray than black-and-white. How do we discern which choices God wants for us?
I connect with the prophet’s words at the beginning of Isaiah 64, “Oh, that you would tear open the heavens and come down . . . .” If God would stand before me and tell me directly what I should do, I would be much more certain about my choices.
The people of Isaiah’s time felt that God had turned away from them. They were yearning for some of the spectacular miracles from their history to reassure them.
When we feel distanced from God, I think it is most likely that we are the ones who have been turning away.
I have not heard of any burning bushes in recent news, no direct physical manifestation of God speaking to us. However, through this devotional, I am learning that if I come in stillness to pray, my heart will be more open to listening for God’s words in my life.
I am reminded of one of my favorite verses, Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” If I focus my efforts on delighting in the Lord–studying His word, worshiping, praying, being still to listen, reaching out to help others–then my desires should eventually be melded to God’s desires. My wishes will be fulfilled because I will be wanting the same outcomes that God wants.
Working on my relationship with God takes a lot more effort on my part than wishing God would swoop down to take care of things, as Isaiah’s words suggested. I am grateful that although God is out of my physical view, I do not feel He is out of my reach.
Today I can't help wondering where God is as I see the images on tv of the people of Ukraine, suffering devastation and death. I think God would be with anyone trying to save those people. But who will do that and how will they do it? How many more lives will be lost before someone intervenes? Yes, I know there are potential consequences, even the possibility of WW III, with a threat of nuclear attack. We can parse the consequences forever. But faced with one person trying to kill another, is it not our responsibility to try to stop the attack? How much more is our obligation when a whole population is under attack? Are there limits to our obligation? We ask not only where is God but also what should we do?