This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Isa. 30:15-18
And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Gal. 4:6
Dear heavenly Father, this is the perfect Scripture to pray through on this Father’s Day, for there is no other father like you. Indeed, what a loving God you are—one who longs to be gracious to us. The way you care for your people is simply incomparable and irresistible, and yet, foolishly, we do resist. Whether through chronic unbelief, the illusion of self-sufficiency, the deceitfulness of sin—we find ways to continue our orphan-like ways, and ignore the resources of the gospel.
For sure, Father, there are times when “riding off on swift horses” looks like a great option—when the demands upon us seem to far outweigh the resources within us; when we reach our emotional limits and exhaust our mental reserves; when tiredness gives way to “attitude,” and patience gives way to pettiness. Even then, you woo us to yourself; especially then, we need you.
The call to repentance and rest, and quietness and trust, comes to us like a kiss from heaven; an mercy-oasis in the arid dessert; a waterfall of grace in a world of broken people and broken places. Father, we find great, really, unparalleled comfort in your pursuing love. Only your love is better than life; only your mercies are sufficient for our messes; only your kindness is powerful enough to lead us to repentance. No one else can touch the deepest place in our hearts, and grant us the refreshment for which we long. O, for the strength of a heart at rest in you.
It’s not like I’m facing the enemies Israel confronted in Isaiah’s day. The Assyrian and Babylonian armies aren’t on the horizon. But I do need, once again, to learn my limits. The barrenness of a busy life is always a threat. Help me say yes to the right things and no to the unnecessary things, Father. Help me reestablish the pace and rhythms of a gospel-driven life.
I repent of letting needs dictate my pace. I repent of grabbing and trying to spin four more plates than you intend. I repent of not honoring Sabbath rest. I repent, yet again, of trying to be my own savior. I repent of doing more things for you than spending unrushed time with you.
Father, we choose to wait for you. As you rise to show us compassion, we will sit down, shut up, be still, and wait. So very Amen we pray with great anticipation, in your merciful and mighty name.