By Kevin Howell
I’ve been reading the Bible from The Message translation lately just to provide a fresh perspective on the scriptures. The Message is one of the more modern versions of scripture, translated from the original language by Eugene Peterson. Petersen decided to write the translation because he felt adults in his congregation “weren’t feeling the vitality and directness” of scriptures, and weren’t “captured and engaged” by them as early readers of the scriptures were.
Well recently, a certain scripture captured me.
God knows exactly where we are at — emotionally, spiritually, mentally. And sometimes, He just uses a quote, a song, a message, and in this case, a scripture to ease our souls. I usually study the Word from a Bible app, and each day when I open it, a scripture of the day pops up on the screen. I usually ignore it. I treat it like those annoying pop-up ads you get when you’re on the internet.
But for some reason, this time, I decided to read it — Isaiah 40:27-31. It was in the Message translation.
Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts…
Sometimes circumstances in life distract us from God. We focus on what’s around us instead of who’s in us, and who’s for us. We look at what we lack instead of Whom we have. Sometimes when reading about the unbelief of the Israelis in scripture, I shake my head at their doubt. But I realize I’m the same way. I complain. I whine. I think God lost track of me.
But just when I get tired — not physically tired, but mentally tired, emotionally tired, and spiritually tired — God does something. He doesn’t intervene in a huge, miraculous, sea-splitting, water-walking, five-loaves-multiplying kind of way. But He’ll encourage me with subtle words and actions. He’ll remind me, in unique ways, He’s here, He knows what’s going on, and He’s in control.
God knows how to push our buttons — in good ways. He knows what will bring us peace, individually and specifically. I can be mired in simple stint of loneliness, yet the God who controls the universe, watches over the billions of residents of Earth, and reigns over the creatures of Heaven, finds it vital to remind me I’m not alone. He’ll use phone calls, texts, Facebook messages from friends to reveal the loving fellowship in my life. It reminds me of a quote from author Mark Batterson:
“God is great not just because nothing is too big for Him; God is also great because nothing is too small.”
So, if you’re like me, and you’ve been distracted by the issues of life lately. Or, if you’ve grown tired within, stop trippin. He’s come through for you before, He’ll come through again. He’s never left your side, even if it feels that way.
Encouragement is on its way. Relief is on its way. As the rest of the scripture in Isaiah 40 says, “Those who wait upon God get fresh strength.”
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