I lay on a gurney in a hospital emergency room. Two fire ant bites had caused me to break out in welts, with my ears ringing loudly and my airway getting tighter by the minute. My nurse came to my bedside with a big syringe and an important message. She said, “This injection will make you better, but you won’t feel better while it’s working. You will shake violently. Your heart will race. You may wonder if you’re dying. I need you to trust me, Mr. Vaughan. These scary symptoms mean the medicine is saving your life.” Then, she injected me with epinephrine. She hadn’t exaggerated. My teeth chattered at one end of my body while my feet and legs thrashed about at the other. I felt like an ant atop a booming kettle drum. The evidence screamed that I was getting worse. But, all the while, my nurse kept a steady hand on my shuddering shoulder, saying, “Trust me. The medicine is doing its work.” After forty-five very long minutes, my bodily earthquake ended. I breathed freely again.
The people in exile who hear about their opportunity to return to Jerusalem wonder why they should go. Life in Babylon is pretty good. The journey home would be hard. A city in ruins and hostile squatters on their property might await them. Based on the evidence, a compelling case for leaving is hard to make. Isaiah brings the amazing message that God is at work, even when our human experience of the evidence may not support that. God’s ways transcend what we can see and understand. Sometimes, God’s work of saving us shakes us to the core. But God puts a steady hand on us, saying, “Trust me. I’m at work. This time of trembling is saving your life.”
Remember a time when God worked in your life in a way that defied what you could see or understand at the moment.
God, help me trust that you are working in my life when I can’t see or understand it. Keep your hand upon me while I wait for you to reveal the good you’ve been doing all along. Amen.