This week has been a tough week. Not like you would think. Not much different than usual, except unusually spiritually and emotionally tough.
Last week was our first week at Bible Study Fellowship and it was wonderful. It's always good to come back after summer break and grow in God's Word with other women. This year we're studying Isaiah, a new study that they haven't done before. I was so excited to get my first lesson last Saturday morning at leader's meeting. Usually I come straight home and read the notes, but it was a busy day so I waited until Sunday evening. One of the first things the notes mentioned was that tradition says that Isaiah was "sawn in two in a tree he had taken refuge in." Really? That's when the weight of the book hit me. Not that I haven't respected God's Word before, but I've heard of the deaths of the New Testament writers. I honestly hadn't heard this one before, and if this is a man who is willing to hide in a tree and be sawn in two to pass on God's Word.....well, I'd better listen to him!
That night I dreamed of being chased through a forest and taking refuge in a tree. I wasn't sawn in two in my dream (thank goodness), but I woke up with a real sense of fear. I laid awake for a very long time honestly pondering whether or not to continue in the study of Isaiah. It seems silly, but I really wanted to just meet with God everyday, meet with women every week - no drama. After sleeping on it, I came to my senses and realized that simply meeting with God without "drama" probably equals no growth, as well.
I began to pray that God use this study of Isaiah to grow me (which should have been my prayer all along), but really had, and still have no idea what that means. All week I've thought of that dream and what it might mean. After reading Isaiah chapter 1 and reading about the corrupt leaders and national sin, I began to ask myself if I would be willing to speak Truth so boldly that I would have reason to fear for my life. Would I? I probably won't be put in that position, but what if God called me like He called Isaiah? No matter what the cost. It's a matter of life and death - either mine or the nation's.
Last night as I finished up my lesson and homiletics, God grabbed me this time and wouldn't let go. I had saved a question from a previous day. Not recommended, but it seemed like a heavy question for the day it was given. God knew when I would need it. The question was, "List specific situations of oppression and injustice and ways you can help." Easy enough, right? I began making the list, but God kept bringing other ministry ideas to mind. I realized quickly that this list is endless! As I read over the list, I realized that even though everything listed was dear to my heart (AIDS orphans, domestic violence, human trafficking, world hunger, providing clean water to areas of the world without it, helping with financial hardships for single or widowed parents....), I knew anything I've ever done hasn't even put a dent in the need. And I hadn't even finished the list, I just ran out of room. This list could go on and on. I wept. Not just a little. As Glen was studying at the church and the kids were in bed, I sat by myself on my bed and wept over the list God had given me. I texted Glen, "I quit. This is too hard!" He replied, "WOW, must be a tough study!" Yes, but after much pleading with God, He spoke to my heart..."Isn't growth tough?"
I don't know if God was testing me to make sure I'm ready for the ride, or if Satan was wrestling with me so I would quit. Whichever isn't important, only that I'm not quitting.
I spoke with Glen today about how burdened I am and we agree that our family has to do more. How much more is yet to be revealed by God. I don't know what He has planned for our family through the study of Isaiah, but I know I can't quit now. I'm so pumped!