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No Man’s Land

Isaiah 40:3 - 5

3 A voice of one calling:

“In the wilderness prepare

the way for the Lord[;

make straight in the desert

a highway for our God.

4 Every valley shall be raised up,

every mountain and hill made low.

The rough ground shall become level,

the rugged places a plain.

5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,

and all people will see it together.

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Sometimes it’s hard to remember God is still in control. In times of transition, we get discouraged looking back over our shoulders or straining to see what might be ahead. The devil tries to distract us with fear and the frustration of uncertainty in times of change. It’s as if the minute we build up enough courage to walk away from one situation or way of thinking, we are bombarded with extra pressures. What happens if I leave? Do I really hear from God? I didn’t have it as bad as I thought; maybe I should try again. Suddenly you might feel scared, bored, sad, lonely, or untethered without that area of complacency in your life.

In my personal experience, I’ve noticed that whenever I think I understand God’s plan, it amazes me how much I could not have possibly known. God’s ways are never as simple and obvious as we might think. The fantastic thing about Him is that His ways are multi-faceted, always working in our lives in ways we couldn’t have predicted or ever even prayed about. The first section of Isaiah deals with who we were, but what of that person stuck in the now? You would think being present is an antidote to worrying about the past and future, but it tends to remind us of how little power we have over life. When you think about it, being present means making peace with the past and accepting what you can’t control in the future. When we realize that the transitional stage between chapters leaves us feeling so vulnerable, it becomes the perfect opportunity to lean on the one who sees the end from the beginning. When we can no longer say prayers for past moments, and the only compass for the future is God’s will, we must take shelter in knowing who God is and His promises for our lives. The Lord makes it clear in His word that He does not forget about us or forsake us. God is not impartial to our problems, no matter how big or small. He did not design every aspect of your life just to turn around and leave you in limbo.

Isaiah 38:16 - 19

16 Lord, by such things people live;

and my spirit finds life in them too.

You restored me to health

and let me live.

17 Surely it was for my benefit

that I suffered such anguish.

In your love you kept me

from the pit of destruction;

you have put all my sins

behind your back.

18 For the grave cannot praise you,

death cannot sing your praise;

those who go down to the pit

cannot hope for your faithfulness.

19 The living, the living—they praise you,

as I am doing today;

parents tell their children

about your faithfulness.

One of my favorite things I heard from my grandma before her passing was, “God does not bring us through our hardships just to then watch us suffer.” As someone who had lived a long time and through many adverse circumstances, she wanted us to know that the miracle of God’s love for us surpasses even the hardest of seasons. People die every second of every day, and unfortunately, people pass away in fleeting and avoidable circumstances. Whether you are going through hell or just going through seasons, I would like to remind you that God has not kept you alive through all your hardships just to forget you. If you still have breath in your lungs, God has promised that His plans for you are good. If you have survived long enough but find yourself in no man’s land, I want you to know that you’ve never really been alone. If you think God has forgotten about you during your journey or given up on the plans He has for your life, I would like to remind you that as a child of the Highest, you cannot be left behind. Everything in life has led you to this moment, and the Lord has not forgotten you. Do not be afraid, even if you feel like your life is barren. When we take this place of solitude as an opportunity to stop and listen, we find out that the Lord never stopped whispering to us through the wind. He was always making a way. JM

Isaiah 26:12 - 19

12 Lord, you establish peace for us;

all that we have accomplished you have done for us.

13 Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us,

but your name alone do we honor.

14 They are now dead; they, live no more;

their spirits do not rise.

You punished them and brought them to ruin;

you wiped out all memory of them.

15 You have enlarged the nation, Lord;

you have enlarged the nation.

You have gained glory for yourself;

you have extended all the borders of the land.

16 Lord, they came to you in their distress;

when you discipline them,

they could barely whisper a prayer.[b]

17 As a pregnant woman about to give birth

writhes and cries out in her pain,

so were we in your presence, Lord.

18 We were with child, we writhed in labor,

but we gave birth to wind.

We have not brought salvation to the earth,

and the people of the world have not come to life.

19 But your dead will live, Lord;

their bodies will rise—

let those who dwell in the dust

wake up and shout for joy—

your dew is like the dew of the morning;

the earth will give birth to her dead

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