The Forsaken Shall Rejoice

This post concludes our short little study of Isaiah 62:1-5.  We have covered several topics included in this rich part of Scripture:  being a “burning torch”, bearing a “new name”, being a “crown of beauty”, delighting in His promise, and finally — rejoicing in Him.

Verse five concludes this passage with a continuation of the previous thought; that God delights in us, and that we are “married” to Him.

“For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”  (Is. 62:5)

This is my favorite verse in the entire passage.  My last post talked about feeling forsaken, alone, or desolate.  These can be very real feelings or times that we go through.  But the wonderful, beautiful truth is that when we trust Him to bring us out of the darkness, we are free to rejoice.  We are free to be glad!  Free to laugh, be joyful, and enjoy our life to the fullest even though it’s not perfect!

Our God rejoices over us.  He rejoices when we trust Him, when we take the time to talk to Him and love Him, think of Him, and obey Him.  In turn we rejoice in Him with renewed fervor, because our hearts are in tune to His. 

In the end, it all comes down to this.  You can be a burning torch, but unless you have His joy, you will flame out.  You can bear a new name — Forgiven —  but unless you continue to rejoice in Him, you will live in your former ways all over again.   You can try to be crown of beauty, but beauty is a radiance of the soul, not the face.   You can live forsaken — or you can rejoice in Him. 

I choose to Rejoice!

When Dreams Must Die

   Every girl has dreams.  The majority of her life is spent in either the making of or the pursuit of them.  Dreams are wonderful things.  They are what inspires us to move forward, to go onward, discovering God’s will for our life along the way.  But dreams can have a tendency to become our all-consuming passion… or rather, distraction.  Dreams, rather than remaining our inspiration, become our aspiration.  They become the thing we live for, rather than the One behind them. 

All dreams have this tendency, but I think romantic dreams are the most likely to drift this direction.  Or perhaps its we who dream who allow them to drift that direction!  Girls dedicated to purity and/or courtship often place marriage on an extremely high pedestal in their dreams; sometimes it is considered the dream of all dreams.  It is the ultimate goal.  All things work together for that end.  The problem with living life in your dreams, although the world may tell you to do so (and so may many churches), is that the dreams become your god.  This focus on desire and hope distracts from the Maker of desire, and the Source of all hope.  I know from experience.  It seemed sometimes that I couldn’t go one day further.  Every other girl had a fella on her arm, and every relative I had was asking me why I didn’t, and every day went by slower and slower as I felt my dream was the slowest in coming in the history of the world.  How does a girl live with her dreams without allowing them to possess her?  By allowing her dreams to die.

The first time I heard that concept it was the least appealing thing I had heard all day.  Let my dreams die?  What would there be to live for?  Where would my hopes go?  If I didn’t want to be married any more nobody would want to marry me!  But that isn’t how it works. Think of a seed.   When you plant it, the seed itself is absorbed by the earth.  It dies.  Yet out of that death springs forth a life so much greater, grander and broader than the seed could have ever been on its own.  But it had to make the ultimate sacrifice first. 

“Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  (Jn.12:24)

It is evening here in the top of the mitten, and the sun is completely gone now.  As I go to bed, I have to surrender my dreams once again to the Lord.  We all love our dreams, our hopes, our plans — but in order to bear fruit, we must allow them to die, for then the truest dreams, the highest hopes and God’s greatest plans can be fulfilled in us.  And His will is infinitely more fulfilling than our own.

His Hands Hold My Heart

Celtic ring  The ring you see pictured here is also on my right hand.  This ring is of Celtic origin, and is called a Claddagh Ring.  To the wearers it is a ring of great symbolism, and to me it has a symbolism as well.  When I was thirteen I was given another ring; a simple silver band with the word “Purity” engraved upon it.  I wore it for five years, and at my graduation two weeks ago put it away in my drawer as my dad requested I do.  In exchange, he gave me a new ring — the Claddagh ring — to wear on my right hand rather than my left.  Now that I am 18, my father deemed it time I leave my left hand empty. 

Taking off my old purity ring doesn’t mean my committment has lessened.  Rather, it has increased.  I am now in the time of my life where a relationship is a possibility.  For me, this can serve as more of a distraction than a blessing.  This time must be used well and for the Lord, to focus more giving my heart to him… just as my ring implies.

To me, the ring has three features that symbolize where I am in my life.  First, the heart.  The heart is the center of who a girl is — who anybody is.  It is their soul, their being, their innermost part.  It is this heart that must be surrendered to God, and that is a daily committment.  Over the last couple months I have found that my surrender to Him has lessened.  As a waitress I often leave the house at 6:30 in the morning, and don’t return until 3 pm.  The first thing sacrificed has been my time with God.  This must not be so for my heart to remain where it belongs…

In His hands.  The hands on the ring are the hands of Jesus Christ, holding my heart until the time that I am to give it away.  He holds it there; he holds ME there, in His care and protection.  He wants to be my everything, to be my God.  Do I have other Gods?  Is marriage my God?  He must hold my heart — not anyone or anything else.

Finally, God crowns it all.  The crown on the ring is God’s will and plan for my life.  It is the guide and direction over my heart as he holds it.  My heart is not “on hold” as I wait for the one to give it to, but is continually under the shadow of God’s presence and thus can perform all He desires. 

Purity is a committment that lasts a lifetime.  However, this new ring is less a “purity ring”, as I had before, than it is a “promise ring”.  Purity has become a lifestyle for me — my struggle is not so much with keeping myself pure (although my thought life is always in need of cleansing) but with keeping my heart trusting. 

As one dear friend wrote in a graduation card to me:

“At times like these we tend to want to give lots of advice from our own experiences but I think you’ll find there’s only one thing that everything else comes back to in life, and that is:  TRUST GOD.  He cannot fail.  He is all that will ever make you what you desire.  His love is so much more than we can ever grasp in this life.  He is so faithful.  When all else is difficult, when failure comes, when doors open and close, TRUST HIM!”

Dear young women of God — trust the One who holds your heart.