Daily devotion

God’s way, not ours

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. These words have been wisdom to many. Let them speak to you today.

Isaiah 3:13-4:1

When I read these verses from Isaiah in modern English to the students’ daily chapel in Kenya, there was much laughter. They got the joke. ‘Zion women are stuck-up, prancing around in their high heels, making eyes at all the men in the street, swinging their hips. Instead, God says, they will be bald, smelling like rotting cabbages, scabby and scarred, fighting off the other women to get a man! As for the men, they just fall helplessly in battle.
Being unmarried and childless is still probably regarded as the most severe punishment in many parts of the world. Many African students told me of past remedies for this in their own families–early marriage, multiple wives, large families, discarding women who did not conceive. They heard many echoes in Old Testament stories of Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Leah and Rachel, for example. Having known unplanned childlessness that it brings, even when it is not punishment but the consequences of a less than ideal world.
Nevertheless, taking things into our own hands doesn’t work in the long run. No matter how hard we try to present ourselves, or reproduce ourselves, our efforts look feeble to onlookers, even to ourselves. And certainly to God. The answer, as we shall see tomorrow, is not dressing for success, a supreme effort in self-improvement or sexual prowess but in an inner beauty and strength, a holiness made possible only by God’s purifying fire. That applies to men as well as women.
Beauty, children, marriage companionship are good gifts. Thank God for what you have. Bring to him the pain of what you do not have, and seek his compassionate response.


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