In Day 1 of this week's homework, we were introduced to Isaiah 45:18-25, which reads (in the NIV):
18 For this is what the LORD says—
he who created the heavens,
he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth,
he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty,
but formed it to be inhabited—
"I am the LORD,
and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob's descendants,
'Seek me in vain.'
I, the LORD, speak the truth;
I declare what is right.
20 "Gather together and come;
assemble, you fugitives from the nations.
Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood,
who pray to gods that cannot save.
21 Declare what is to be, present it—
let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the LORD ?
And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none but me.
22 "Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn,
my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
by me every tongue will swear.
24 They will say of me, 'In the LORD alone
are righteousness and strength.' "
All who have raged against him
will come to him and be put to shame.
25 But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel
will be found righteous and will exult.
Our homework asked us to consider the challenges we face in believing God, and how they relate to these verses. The Lord gave me a vision. I was transported back to Kindergarten, on the playground at my church, where I went to school. I saw my friend Taylor (who I am privileged enough to still call a friend, after all these years) running toward me saying, "Look! Come see!" And this is what I wrote:
In Isaiah 45:18-25, I hear you partly as angry, and partly pleading like a child who wants a friend to come with him to see a really cool lizard on the other side of the play ground. "PLEASE! I swear! There's a purple lizard over there!" And I say, "No way. I've never seen a purple lizard--I DON'T BELIEVE YOU." And I miss out on seeing a really cool purple lizard. I say I trust you, with my mouth, but my spiritual life thinks of you as "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." I guess I feel like you don't work for me. You do amazing things for others, and I believe in your miracles from the past, but I don't believe in them today. My mind is too skeptical and I am too cynical. Over-spiritualizing everything just seems to cheesey to me. My tendency is to shut down my spirit when I sense you're getting close. I've never seen a purple lizard. In fact, I'm terrified of them, which made my honeymoon fun. Have you ever been to Mexico? There are gigantic lizards EVERYWHERE! They just chill wherever they want, mostly directly in my path, scaring me half to death by their mere presence. Anyway, it would be really super-cool to see a purple one, from a distance, of course. You want to show me one! You do! I know you do! But I don't believe that there is one on the other side of the play ground!
The thing is, when I was in Kindergarten, if Taylor had come running to me and told me about a purple lizard, I would have stopped what I was doing and bolted over to the scene of her amazing find. Even if I didn't think purple lizards were real, I would have gone. So why, when the God of the ENTIRE UNIVERSE wants to show me something, and requires that I believe what he said in the past, I say, "Nah, I'm good. Purple lizards aren't real, silly!" And, even if the purple lizard had run away by the time I arrived, I still would have believed Taylor. So again, why not believe the God who MADE EVERYTHING?
Since I wrote that, God has shown me SO MANY lizards, which, of course, has made my skin crawl, but has also reminded me daily of his promise. There is SOMETHING AWESOME at the other side of the play ground, if I would only believe what he's saying! He is NOT The God Who Cried Purple Lizard, because everything he's ever said has been TRUE.