Time to Return

          When we face troubling situations and we can’t understand what God is doing, we’re often reminded of the difference between Him and us with these words from Isaiah: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says 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'” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJ).

           Usually, the recollection of that truth enables us to breathe out a sigh of relief, and even though we still don’t completely understand, our hearts are pulled back into reliance upon the One who we know has everything under control. It’s interesting to note, however, that the context of the above verses have nothing to do with God wanting us to just trust Him when we don’t comprehend what’s going on around us. Read the verses that immediately precede that passage. “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” Isaiah 55:6-7 (NKJ).

          You see, God wants us to know that His ways our higher than our ways when we find ourselves away from Him, maybe even dodging Him. You may counter, “But these verses are talking to “the wicked” and to “the unrighteous man;” these verses don’t pertain to those of us who are already believers.” Really? Then how do we claim verses 8 and 9 as being for us, but not verses 6 and 7 that immediately precede them? No, verses 6 and 7 definitely pertain to believers because unbelievers cannot “return to the Lord” when they’ve never been with Him in the first place.

           A person, even a Christian, is considered wicked when he goes in his own direction, and this passage admonishes that one to “forsake his way,” i.e. turn from his wicked ways (See Second Chronicles 7:14). But in addition to stopping overt sinful actions, this passage also directs the unrighteous-again pertaining to believers-to forsake “his [wicked] thoughts.” (You do know we can sin in our thought life, don’t you? See Matthew 5:22-23 and 27-28 for starters.)

          So when we have allowed either our actions and/or our thoughts to draw us away from God, we feel a bit leery about facing Him. And the longer we stay away, the harder it is for us to return. We think God is too mad at us and way too disappointed in us for us to even have the audacity to think that He’ll accept us back into close relationship with Him. But that’s not true. He answers those fears Himself by reminding us that He doesn’t think the way we think. Like the prodigal son’s daddy (see Luke 15:11ff), our God is waiting with open arms for us to return home.

           No matter where we’ve been-in active rebellion or in passive neglect-it’s time to return.

Prayer of Adoration: God, I am in awe of how high Your thoughts and ways are.

©2012 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

And pick up a copy of Sharon’s new book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, available at Christian bookstores, online, from New Hope Publishers, from the Life That Matters Ministries’ website, and now also available on Kindle!

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~ by sanewriter on October 5, 2012.

7 Responses to “Time to Return”

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