For the past few months, two passages have been recurring in almost all the preaching we’ve been hearing, from church to podcasts:
Oh, and guess what? One of them was even yesterday’s reading in Bible Gateway’s Chronological Reading Plan. How convenient! *toink*
“Sing, O barren,
You who have not borne!
Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,
You who have not labored with child!
For more are the children of the desolate
Than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.
For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited. (Isaiah 54:1-3 NKJV)
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7,8 NKJV)
Highlights are mine.
According to my sermon notes notebook, Jeremiah 17:7,8 was among the references for Pastor Mylene’s sermon Positioned for Generosity last June 24 (read the blog before this to know what happened then). I do recall one thought sneaking into my consciousness just before the floodtide of blessing started to overwhelm us:
“The heat is coming, isn’t it?”
And as the days passed, I became sure of it. The way “(you) will not fear when heat comes” keeps recurring like groundhog day has convinced me that there IS heat that’s going to come.
We just won’t be made to feel it. Because the Gardener is going to make sure our roots are tapped into the water table.itself. The Vine is not going to suddenly shrug off this branch. The Holy Spirit is in me as a guarantee of the promises of God being Yes! and Amen! in Christ Jesus.
If I may be candidly shallow for a bit — I wonder if that’s why we’ve been having storms where we are (Philippines) at this time: it is so cold here now, we need sweaters over our pajamas at night, under the blanket…
Okay, shallow moment over. I think.
Seriously, the heat IS on. And it’s not funny at all. Even with the promise of being rooted in the waters, it’s still freaky for the unemployed-and-just-starting-to-venture-into-a-business married-with-pre-teen-kids couple in their 40s to be going through. And in my humanity, it’s not too hard to sigh “Why, Lord?”
At first, it was sorta rhetorical. But today, thinking about these two recurring passages, a possible connection bubbled up into this homeschooling mom’s brain:
In science, we have learned that heat causes matter to expand – at least, most matter. Wikipedia’s article is titled “Thermal Expansion“, Freedictionary.com has “Heat expansion“. The most easy-to-read explanation online that I found was the lone answer to the question “Why does heat cause matter to expand?” from wiki.answers.com. Whatever process is actually happening in the atoms and molecules, the thing that is most evident to the naked eye is that an increase in heat leads to the expansion of the object.
And I do get the subtle hint about the connection between eating unnecessary calories and waistline expansion, Lord…
But then, I guess I also have a hint as to the “why”. Somehow, there’s expansion coming in our lives…this heat is needed to make it happen. And even if it seems like we’re wasting whatever resources we have left, the command is clear in Isaiah 54: “enlarge the place of your tent…for you will expand.” We have to prepare for the expansion coming by beginning to make room for it now, before it comes. And the first step in the preparation for the expansion:
SING, O Barren!
Hmm…does not-having-successfully-conceived-after-about-a-year-of-trying count as “barren”? Because that’s me at this time. And guess what:
After two years of silence, I’ll be onstage this Sunday. Singing.
This is getting to be interesting…^_^