Once you learn about God’s Nature, you can trust His plan for you today and for the future.
Although I am crazy in love with the book of Isaiah, one of the verses I do not like to hear spoken to a grieving person is from Isaiah 55:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NASB)
While I was in the deeper parts of grief after losing our three-year-old son, Austin, to strep throat, I needed to work out the truth of these verses for myself. It did not help for others to say them to me. It would take a long, long time. Eventually, I learned enough about God to know the verses from Isaiah are not meant to shut down my questions, but rather to help me surrender my will to God’s plan.
Easier said than done. Surrendering to God’s plan is no small feat. Every person must wrestle their will into submission to the Father. I think prophecy can help. The prophecies in Isaiah settled surrender for me. I discovered a God I could trust with my stubborn heart. I learned that my Savior is worthy of my whole heart.
As a new believer and with my grieving heart, I began to pour over the prophecies in Isaiah. I needed to understand more about the plans of God. As I studied, I began to see that God is not hiding His plans from us at all. Quite the contrary. God has preserved His plans in black and white, where we can all read them.
Did you know that Jesus quoted from a prophecy in Isaiah as He began His public ministry? In the temple in Nazareth, He was handed the scroll of Isaiah. Jesus rolled open the scroll until He reached Isaiah 61. He stood to read it aloud:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord anointed me To bring good news to the humble; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim release to captives And freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord . . .
After reading these ancient words (written more than 600 years before), Jesus waited until all eyes were on Him, and then He declared that this prophecy had been fulfilled in their hearing – as in that very day, in that very moment. (Luke 4:16-21).
I bet you could have heard a pin drop!
If you are reading this and your heart is hurting, or you are filled with worry over the state of our world, consider turning to the book of Isaiah. Although prophecy can seem daunting, and the book of Isaiah can seem long and confusing, understanding and knowing your God is worth the effort. You can read and understand God and His plans by studying your Bible.
For example, isn’t it curious that Jesus didn’t even finish verse two in Isaiah 61. Scholars think Jesus stopped mid-verse because the rest of verse likely relates to His second-coming, when more of God’s plans will come true. Consider the rest of Isaiah 61:2-3:
And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The cloak of praise instead of a disheartened spirit. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
As someone who is eager for Heaven, I love these verses. I’m tired of mourning. Aren’t you? Do you need a cloak of praise instead of a disheartened spirit? Oh come, Lord Jesus, come!
Did you notice that Jesus proclaimed the year of the Lord, and yet, only one day of vengeance? God’s plans are merciful and compassionate!
Let’s skip ahead and consider Isaiah 65, as we contemplate God’s plans that are yet to be fulfilled:
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness. I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying. (Isaiah 65:17-19)
Pause and imagine it now. A new earth and a new heaven where the former things will not even come to mind or be remembered. There will be gladness and rejoicing forever. We will no longer hear weeping or the sound of crying. Never. Ever. Again.
Be encouraged by the prophecies in Isaiah that already have been fulfilled about Jesus. God has already done so much for us. Sometimes we must look backward to hope forward!
Take a few minutes today and journal all that God has performed or protected you from in this life.
Next, because our God always keeps His promises, journal how you feel about these prophecies that promise a new heaven and new earth, no more death, no more weeping. These words will come true, too. Be steadfast and joyful in your surrender to God’s plans!
Kim Erickson began following Christ after the death of her three-year-old son. Jesus and the Bible saved Kim from the pit of grieving the loss of a child. Kim began a writing and teaching ministry to help other women find outrageous joy from a deeper relationship with God. You can learn more at www.KimAErickson.com.
Kim is the author of His Last Words: What Jesus Taught and Prayed in His Final Hours, Surviving Sorrow: A Mother’s Guide to Living with Loss, and Predicting Jesus: A Six-Week Study of the Messianic Prophecies of Isaiah. Kim is an attorney and kindergarten teacher. She lives in Florida with her husband, Devin, and son, Ethan.