I've been camping in Isaiah 32-34. I landed there because it's required for my Bible Study. I stayed there because it's the encouragement and hope as an ugly year ends and new one starts fresh. In Isaiah 32:15 Isaiah prophesies a time where the Lord will bring justice and relief: "Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest."
When you've spent time in the wilderness- the craving to see it transformed into a fruitful field becomes pretty intense. My trip through the wilderness in the past year has given me a much deeper hunger for the things that only my God can accomplish.
Isaiah goes on to say, "Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places, though hail comes down on the forest, and the city is brought low in humiliation. Blessed are you who sow beside all waters..."Isaiah 32:16-20
I know that the promise of peace, quietness, and blessing that Isaiah is talking of won't completely come to pass until this world is over. Yet I am also thankful that He gives me small little pockets of this as He sustains me in this life.
A year ago we were in nasty terrain but beginning to hear the Lord in a new way. It reminds me of God allowing the Israelites to wander for 40 years so that in the desert He could teach them to hear His voice, reveal Himself, and establish them as a nation. He has definitely been doing those things in us (although I think we'll stick to just being a family and not make a nation out of it...)
I am hoping for pockets of God's rest and graciousness this year...and have been noticing some tufts of grass popping up in what has previously been desert.
One of these blessings has been a new office for BIG OAK. S. had been praying for a very cheap option as he has been working hard to be a faithful and frugal steward of the resources we've been blessed with. He discovered a beautiful office in Lynden and only pays $100 a month. I am incredibly encouraged by the doors the Lord keeps opening when S. has been obedient, prayerful, and responsible. As he is faithful with a little...it has increased. December was by far the best month financially for BIG OAK and many times I was brought to tears by the people moved to contribute.
S. has quite a few speaking opportunities within the next 2 months, including speaking to over 100 middle schoolers this weekend.
He is also working with a Bible software company as we try to make a;life a curriculum for students to use on mobile devices. There are some cool ideas floating around and this year we get to meet with people who can put feet on them.I am constantly astounded that it's been a year since we had an official "job" "benefits" a "savings account" that was building and not draining... and yet I paid my mortgage and got groceries this month. We've scraped the bottom of the barrel but even though we are down to one car and one less bank account, the Lord has given us wisdom in what we do have. By His grace (and some generous family members) we even had an abundance of Christmas gifts! To me that was an unexpected oasis.
After 4 months of being sick I made it to the gym last week. I certainly never knew that an upper body workout could make me emotional! I'm still on my third round of antibiotics and I still do have coughing fits but I am able to sleep solid nights and my energy level is improving. I'll take what I can get.
S. took this following picture one morning as he pulled out of our neighborhood. You can see that in no way are we in a literal desert!