When Plans Change
Ah, summertime. The days are endless and the sun is plentiful. The heat is constant and the routine is … lacking? Perhaps you’re a college student whose internship was canceled, and you’re not sure how to fill your days. Maybe you’re a mama of young kids and are struggling to keep up with their needs. Or maybe you’re working from home and feel frustrated with the monotony of your job.
This summer has been unlike any other we have experienced. Since the world shut down a few months ago due to COVID-19, it has almost felt like a perpetual “summer.” Kids are not going to school, some parents are not going to work, and most of our normal ways of getting out and about have changed drastically or simply are no longer available.
Out of Routine
I live in Georgia, where the summer heat is real and the humidity is plentiful. On any given day, I can find myself grinning with gratitude at the sunny skies or cursing them with frustration when the heat just won’t relent. We have all been home much more than normal, and our routines are just different (or nonexistent). It’s easy to make time for the Word when the circumstances of life are simple. But when things are complicated and there are seemingly one too many curveballs thrown at you, the discipline of opening God’s Word can seem like just one more thing to do instead of a delight.
At its best, summer can bring with it a carefree sense of wonder. At its worst, it can feel long and unorganized. After a week of brutal July heat, I was relieved to see that the weather forecast held rain—and lots of it. Rain refreshes and replenishes what has been dried up by drought. Our time in the Word can feel stale when we approach it with a sense of duty or obligation. But when we see the Word for what it truly is—the God-breathed and inspired message of hope and deliverance for our souls—we are changed and refreshed.
Isaiah 55:6–7 says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
A Sure Foundation
We are living in increasingly uncertain times. When we come to the Word of God, we find the certainty of truth that does not waver. We find the God of the universe who does not change or cast a shifting shadow (James 1:17). In the Word, we find a sure and steady foundation that will hold us and carry us through the uncertainties of this life. We need the Word to remind us that without Christ, we are desperately wicked. But we also need his Word to inform our hearts so we can know how to live and love in the midst of a world that is questioning.
Later in Isaiah 55, we read a beautiful promise. It says in verses 10–11: “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
Finding God in it All
Over the past several months, we have all been reminded of the brevity of life. We know that God is sovereign and good, yet our circumstances can sometimes feel otherwise. When we come to the Word, we find God. We find His ways and see that He is with us, He is for us, and He is not against us. His Word never fails, because He never fails. We can find hope and solace in Him when we trust Him enough to rest in His true and lasting promises.
Many of us say we desire a fruitful life. However, we aren’t always willing to do the work of tilling the soil and watering the ground in order to bring forth a harvest of righteousness. When we come to the Word, we are not approaching a book of stories to inspire and encourage us. We are coming to the living Word that is “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Return to the Well
Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve picked up the Word. Your Father knows this, and He is waiting to meet with you. He's there to commune with you and instruct you. To give you His peace. He is there to equip you in the battle against sin. His mercies are new every morning, and His love never fails.
We will see fruit in our lives and find joy in the Word if we come to it again and again, even when we just don’t feel like it. When we choose to believe the truth of His promises above our feelings of apathy and frustration, we find that He is waiting and ready to lovingly teach, lead, and correct us. His Word becomes the refreshing rains that breathe life into our parched and weary souls, and we find rest, just as He intended.
This summer, let us find strength and refreshment as we drink deeply from the well of the Father’s great love in His Word. We are sure to find rest as He meets us there.