BSF Year Two: Check!
I’m approaching the end of another year of Bible Study Fellowship – one more week left in the book of Isaiah – and it’s time again to ponder what I’ve learned over the past nine months.
FYI: This isn’t the first time I’ve read Isaiah. I read the entire Bible many years ago, but back then it was more about going cover-to-cover than it was about discovering who God is. I think I just assumed I would gain a bit of divine knowledge via osmosis as I flew low and fast over the pages. I wanted to be able to claim, “I am a spiritual juggernaut. I’ve read every word in the Bible, from one end to the other, from the beginning to the end. I am the Alpha and the Omega of Bible readers.” I’m amazed God didn’t kick me off the edge of the world (it being flat, and all).
Besides Revelation, Isaiah was (and still is) the most intimidating book for me to tackle; hard to understand, yet filled with the most treasure…the “oooo and ahhh” book. But what I learned was worth every “huh?” and “I don’t get it.” I learned about His personality: His likes, His dislikes, His moods, emotions, and thoughts. Only trouble is, I learned more about Him than I think I wanted to know, because, now I know. Now I’m excuse-less. There is much I can still claim ignorance about, but much I can’t. I’m out there, vulnerable, unable to hide behind my lack of knowledge about what He wants and what He expects. There is a part of me that thinks I really screwed up this time. I should never have let Him get this close. Now, I’m accountable. And I HATE that!
So besides the “uh-oh” realization that I’ve been caught red-handed in my sin, what else did I learn (as if that wasn’t enough)? Well, I learned that:
- I’m not as self-reliant and self-sufficient as I think I am.
- I’m accountable to someone much bigger than my mother.
- God is infinitely patient, but does not have infinite patience.
- God has the power to hire and fire.
- Suffering is never in vain.
- Where God is concerned, fear is a good thing.
- Running from the consequences of my sin has been my life-long vocation; I only thought I was an executive secretary.
and, last but not least
- There is always hope.
Which brings me to one of those “duh” moments we all have from time to time.
A couple of weeks ago, on Easter Sunday, as a matter of fact, I was riding behind my husband on a motorcycle, leaving Alpine, Texas, headed for McDonald Observatory near Ft. Davis, with eight other motorcycles (and their riders, of course, since motorcycles are generally not remote-controlled). Recent wildfires had left a lot of land decimated, and I noticed one such very large, burned-out field on my left. And in the middle of all that blackened acreage stood two deer (or antelope, depending on who you ask), their soft, sable-colored forms in stark contrast to their surroundings, heads down, grazing on what I knew not. At the time, I thought “how sad. What can possibly be left to eat?” Since we were, at that moment, traveling about 75 miles an hour, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to reflect on it. I did, however, have the presence of mind to recognize that there was something important about that sight, something I was supposed to see. I just couldn’t grasp it.
So, the other day, as I was contemplating the last few chapters in Isaiah, it hit me: God always leaves a remnant! While it seemed at the time to be a bit odd seeing two deer (antelope?) in the middle of nowhere, I now understand that it was intentional…like He oh-so-perfectly staged the scene in order to illustrate in the simplest of terms the love, compassion, and mercy He gives to all of His creation. Yes, He brought them to a place of utter desolation, but He didn’t leave them there to starve, or make do on their own. While that field and seemingly all the grass in it was burned, destroyed–wiped out–there was still something there to eat…still something there to sustain life.
God always leaves a remnant.
And, there is always hope.