“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.” Isaiah 54:10
A few years ago in the midst of a very uncertain and fearful situation in our family the Lord led me to this verse in the middle of a sleepless night. He began to speak to me through the remainder of the book of Isaiah about re-building some things in my life, with the reminder that when he builds something it cannot be shaken or taken down-just like the love he has for all his children.
Today, I find myself facing another uncertain and fearful situation with a wayward child. Our oldest son decided on his 19th birthday that he was leaving, but not without saying a few stinging words that I think left a mark on my soul. If you have children then you know they bring a few tears with them along the way-some are tears of joy and others are tears of hurt, brokenness and fear.
Even though I know he hasn’t gone far, he still left with anger, hurt in his heart and a few lies that I know will take him down a dark and destructive road. I can look back through my teenage years and remember the days of thinking that my parents didn’t have a clue. They couldn’t possibly know what I was going through. They were old, and old people weren’t very smart -or so I believed until I had a son. And let’s just say he inherited a little of mom’s strong personality with a lot of her vocal talents!
The night he stormed out of the house with his suitcase in tow, I wrestled with all the right and wrong things I’d done as a parent. I found myself tangled in a lot of mixed emotions. Anger seemed to be the one that wanted to rear its ugly head, but fear soon wrapped itself tightly around my heart and began to slowly squeeze the life out of me.
My mind raced as I thought of the big world that surrounded him-a world that’s not big on truth or compassion, but rather compromise and getting even. And, when I searched the deepest places in my heart it was very apparent, I’d made my share of mistakes as a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend. Far too many times than I’d like to admit, I allowed my emotions to take center stage in the heat of the moment, and did not always keep a tight reign on my tongue. James, chapter 3 was spot on, when it identifies the tongue as a small part of the body that can create a huge fire. I’ve created many bondfires without a match!
As I made my way through the living room last night, trying to keep my tears contained on the way to tucking in my younger daughter- I mentioned to my husband the fear that was knocking on the door of my heart. I rattled off a few things (maybe with a little exaggeration) things that could happen if mom and dad weren’t around. Without addressing all my “what if” hypothetical situations, he simply replied, “He knows he can come home whenever he wants-my phone is turned on-all he has to do is call and come home.”
I didn’t think much about the reply, because at the time I thought it was insensitive to the situation. I guess I’m not sure what I thought my husband should be doing, but a few tears of concern might have helped the cause-or put my fear into overdrive. So, looking back I’m grateful that he kept his emotions to a minimum.
It was in the early morning hours, this morning, the Lord whispered the words-“though the mountains shake, my love for you hasn’t moved”…and it was in that moment my eyes popped open and I recalled the words my husband spoke just before I went to bed. “He can come home whenever he wants.” Those words spoken by my husband would serve as a reminder to me of what Jesus must be thinking each time I want to turn my back on the truth of his word. How it must grieve Him when I want to walk away from his protection because my way seems more fitting at the time. I thought back to my current situation and realized that, yes, my son can come home whenever he wants-and the same is true for you and me. We are welcome home into the arms of Jesus no matter what!
Back to Isaiah 54…the future blessings of God are being revealed for God’s people. Verse 10 reminds the people that God’s love for them is deep and and he sees everything they’ve been through and will ever go through. He reminds them just as he reminded me-regardless of what is shaking around you, my love remains wrapped tightly around you.
Nothing we go through can separate us from the love that God has for you and me. So it is with my son (and your kids), nothing they will ever do will keep us from loving them. Come home is the cry of God’s heart, just like it’s the cry of mine as I sit and type these words. Come home those of you who are weary, tired and confused, come home those of you who have blown it, trying to do things on your own-just come home.
Just imagine Jesus saying to you, “come home-let’s sit at the table and talk-let me show you how I see the things that you are going through and the burdens you are trying to carry on your own.” And when the conversation is over, Jesus extends his arms across the table-reaching for your bag you brought with you-the one that holds many years of torment, past mistakes accompanied with shame and regret, and present struggles that have started to spill out over the top. He doesn’t say a word, nor does he rummage through the articles contained in the bag. He simply smiles as he takes the heaviness from your hands, and places the bag in an unknown location where it will be remembered no more.
“Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. “ Matthew 11:28
Regardless of what we’ve done, the words we’ve spoken, or the mess we’ve created-there is one place we can go that redeems, renews and restores -and that place is HOME! Home into the arms of Jesus- tucked tightly beneath his wing-safe into the arms of his love.
We haven’t arrived at our destination, but the journey starts here on earth. There will be bumps and bruises along the way-enough tears to water the pasture-and some places in our hearts that burn with a longing of change. And what I’ve learned over the year (and often need to be reminded of)-the change we’re really longing for is a change in our hearts- change that only the Holy Spirit can make as we yield to his calling and pause for his direction.
My son isn’t home yet, but I know that wherever he goes, Jesus is right there beside him covering him with his unfailing love that reaches further than the eye can see. He is welcome home always and so are you!
“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: “They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.” None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:31-39 (The Message)
My prayer for us all is that we will come home to Jesus. When life starts to unravel we remember that God is still high above all the mess, and is building something in us all that cannot be shaken or taken away. His arm is not too short that he cannot reach us wherever we are and the gates of hell will not prevail against us! We are his kids, we are loved and we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus!