We've come across some hard times at my house, but even in the midst of it I have felt God's hand holding onto me, holding me steady. Which is great, because I am so terribly unsteady on my own! But all the same, there is at least the great steadiness of God to rely on.
I came across Isaiah 54 some years ago, and it was like salve to my soul. And I came across it again somewhat recently, and found it to have the same cathartic effects. This may not seem like much of a post, but here is some of the peace of God, shared with me in my storm. Shared with you!
"Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband, says the Lord.
"Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.
"Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your maker is your husband--the Lord Almighty is his name--the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit--a wife who married young, only to be rejected," says your God. "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the Lord your Redeemer.
"To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
"Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with saphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace. In righteousness you will be established: tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed, it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.
"See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me," declares the Lord.
I love those Old Testament texts where it seems as though God speaks directly to us through his prophets. I don't understand it all, but there is enough I do understand and cling to.