For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
But you refusedIsaiah 30:15NRSV
Isaiah 30:15 ends with “But you refused” or “But you would not.” I want to perform the beginning of the verse, what the Baptists would call my life verse. “In returning and rest you are saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength.” I choose to make the last phrase ‘but you would not’ untrue of me. That requires discipline again and again for me to return and rest in God.
Difficult to keep in my mind when I do things like jump out of my meditation and prayer chair to dry off the dog and find superfine gravel dirt all over the front hall and Bob’s bathroom floor from soles of our boots worn to the Nature Center the day before! Here I am back at it. “In returning and rest I am saved.”
We tried to be careful with those dirty soles. Perhaps it is a lesson regarding my dirty soul. Not undue self-castigation here. I so easily depart my knowledge of the Lord. I could have seen that dry off and cleanup event as a way to stay quiet, still, trusting and resting in God: grateful I have a dog in our family, grateful for ability to walk in the Nature Center, resting in the fact that eventually I will be returned to dust yet He will reign forever and ever.
In returning and rest I am saved; in quietness and trust is my strength. I can see that some growth has occurred over the years. I was not angry while cleaning up. In past years I likely would have been. I did, however, return to my prayer chair and ask myself, “Now where was I?” Oh for the day I can carry my prayer chair meditations and practice to the other rooms without flinching or forgetting!
I suppose that is why the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel said “IN RETURNING.” The omnipotent Holy One knew I would be returning. Lord help me always to return and rest in Your tender help and care. Dissuade my tendency to not return with Your power and indwelling Holy Spirit.
My salvation is in returning. My salvation is in resting. My strength is in quietness and trust. So there I have it. When I am feeling not strong, I must go back to quietness and trust in God. There is great wisdom in the concept that when you do not know what to do next, return to the last thing the Lord told you. We are so easily distracted! Like Dug the dog in the movie “Up!” who said “Squirrel!”
I have been working with this verse for many years. Be encouraged by that and know that you, too, can be changed by practicing the Word. Even if that means as the Benedictines say, “Always, we begin again.”
The wind is blowing the wind chimes into constant song. The snow is falling and at times pouring off the roof. The roof line is almost indistinguishable from the sky right now. The candle flickers and I pray you are encouraged to go to God and be with Him. Please do not be the ones “Who would not.”