Isaiah 38:10, 11, 12, 16
It's summer. It is very hot in Omaha, and very dry. There are cracks in the ground and my yard feels as hard as concrete when I walk across it. Trees hang listlessly, and the little breeze we receive carries a hot breath and not a cool promise of relief.
Yet I know that relief will come, because I have faith in the change of weather cycles, the change of seasons. I remarked to my wife yesterday about faith. We were at our 93-year old neighbor's house, and as we were leaving I pointed out to her his incredible faith - again this spring, as he has every year for the past 60 he has lived here, he had planted seedling trees and tended them with care during this hot, dry spell.
Hezekiah had that faith. He reminded the Lord that he had done what was pleasing to God. And Hezekiah's faith was rewarded with a cure and 15 more years of life. (Of course, since this is the Old Testament, there is always more to the bargain - Hezekiah wants a sign that God will make good on the promise, and receives a miracle that a miracle will be performed!)
I have faith that the cycle will change, that good will come again in the form of moderate weather. My neighbor has faith that he is doing what he should do by planting and tending trees; he is called to this act because he knows it is pleasing to God. Each of us is called to have faith that, as Isaiah said, we shall not die, that the Lord will save us. There is no guarantee that if we do what is pleasing to God we will receive 15 more years of life, but there is a guarantee that if we have faith we will avoid the nether world and that our life, our eternal life, will be saved and we shall not die.
And so today I am reminded to pray for deeper faith, for the patience
to wait for the changes of tomorrow, and to rejoice in the faith of a 93-year
old man who plants trees.
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