I mentioned earlier in the year that sometimes I go through old journal entries and find prayers and words that I’m not not sure how I had the strength to say then and certainly don’t as I read them–but I know they are true and the Lord tells us to remember past redemptions. Here is another one of those moments that might bring hope to someone else. I only changed spelling and occasional punctuation (Words have become a struggle the past two years and especially the past few months), so this isn’t polished or artistic proseat least on my part. I also have found myself writing down passages from Scripture, well-loved stories and other books, and even song lyrics that either express my heart or minister to it. These passages from Isaiah remind us of the hope of Christ celebrated the first week of Advent. (And no, I didn’t plan that. It just came to mind as I was typing.)

July 14th, 2020

Dearest Friend,

Thank you for your steadfast, enduring love.

Steadfast…

Enduring…

Forever…

Repeated three times–in Hebrew poetry, that’s supposed to be like a triple superlative, right?

You are all-around goodness–looking over the verses of the past few pages, a glimpse, a scan of passages revealing your character.

You are hope. I am not trapped.

You are comfort. I am not defined by despair, melancholy, or pain.

You are compassionate and cleansing, I don’t have to feel ashamed.

You have a purpose for me–I don’t have to make excuses for being.

You are faithful. I don’t have to rely on my own strength or despair in–or fix on my own, or make up for–my weaknesses.

We cannot even imagine your mind, your plans for us.

1 Corinthians 2:9

plus Isaiah 55:8-9

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

further down…

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

[Andrew Peterson wrote a beautiful song called “The Sower’s Song” featuring that last passage. I encourage you to listen to it, and then hopefully support him in some way. Here is his YouTube channel version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6W-P820f4c ]

Isaiah 43:1

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”

Exodus 34:14

“…for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous [El Qanna], is a jealous God.”

Hagar’s story

Hannah’s story

Mary’s song

Ishmael-“God hears”

Isaiah 61:1-4 and following (Jesus reads this in Luke.)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance for our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion–to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations…

Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor, they shall rejoice in their lot…”

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