“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’”
— Isaiah 55:8-11
This passage is one of my favorites, as it’s served as an anchor for me through the years. It reminds me of a beginner track and field runner. The coach assigns a track for the runner, but not the track she was hoping for. He assigns the runner to jump through hurdles and barriers; she couldn’t be any less enthusiastic about it, but decides to trust the coach.
The practices seem endless, unnecessarily difficult and petty. Not only is the coach making the runner run a track she didn’t want, but is finding everything wrong in every step she takes. He constantly corrects her forms, instructs her on how her feet are to land on the track, keeps her mindful of her breathing, forces her to stay on a consistent pace, and reminds her to focus on his words. She finds this task difficult and can’t seem to understand why he’s pushing her so hard, but she decides to continue to trust her coach day in and day out.
One day, she hears him yell from across the field, “Keep it up! Push past the pain! Push past yourself! You’re doing it! You’re doing great!” She decides to lean in on his words and throw one leg in front of the other, faster and faster, until she reaches her finish line. Her coach comes over to her to show her the stopwatch. She completed her run AND ran it faster than she had before! It was at that moment she realized that she was able to accomplish this goal because of her coach.
She was challenged with so much pain, fears, limits and unknowns, but her coach walked her through it all. Every instruction she received that she thought was petty and pointless, now came to the light. Everything the coach had instructed her to do propelled her to the goal.
This is what the passage reminds me of. God is our coach. He will ask us to run the race He’s prepared for us. It’ll seem overwhelming, way more challenging than you’re up to, and there’ll be lots of things we won’t understand completely, but I challenge you to keep it up! Let’s push past the barriers with the help of the Holy Spirit. Let’s lean in on His words and confidently trust Him and His instructions for us. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours AND will accomplish the purpose of which He sent it.
This week, I challenge you to present your fears, limits and hurdles before the Lord. Ask Him to strengthen your trust in Him, as you lean into His words, as you run your race. He will coach you through the steps and will never leave your side.
Pastor Jasmine Penkey