It’s been an interesting week…I said my first “good-bye” yesterday, and it hit me harder than I expected. I know that I will still keep in touch with these loved ones…and it’s not the first time that I have left for an extended period of time–but it is the first time I’ve actually had to say “good-bye” not knowing when I will be back…not knowing when I will see them again. I had planned on doing some sort of temp-work while I was here, but I have realized that the most important thing I can do right now is spend time with these people I love so dearly.
Yesterday, I received a letter from myself that was written in February, at our retreat for the APU mission teams. It was interesting to read my prayers for our team at that time, and to see how God answered those prayers. At the bottom of my letter I wrote *Isaiah 58*, as that was a passage I pondered greatly during that retreat. I re-read it yesterday and was yet again struck by these powerful words:
‘For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. “Why have we fasted,” they say, “and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?”…
You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high…Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose water never fail.”
—Isaiah 58: 2-11
Wow…how beautiful and how powerful…THIS is why we were made–to serve those God places in our path and to love them like He loves them. This is how I want to spend my life, without a doubt. There’s simply no better way…much to ponder… 🙂