“In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15
I used to have a small plaque with this verse on it but I never seemed to understand the verse. I used to read it over and over and ponder it but it always eluded me and I was left with a feeling of “What exactly does this mean and why am I so drawn to it if I don’t understand it?”
Over time, that plaque did not survive a move – or two – or a redecorating spree, but the verse remained etched on my heart and I’ve returned to it time and again – always feeling the tug of “this verse is for you…this verse is for you…” It’s not a popular verse one sees engraved across the cover of Bibles or cross-stitched on tapestries in homes, but it draws me.
It was written to the nation of Israel as God was wooing them back from their wayward ways. They had put their trust in their army, their own strength, and in alliances with other nations like Egypt. God was telling them throughout the chapter that He is all they need and that if they rely on other things they will eventually be shattered.
But, in verse 18 He assures them that He waits, so that He may be gracious to them and show them mercy (when they return). Even as they were being prideful children, God was looking ahead to when and how He could show them mercy and grace.
Such a beautiful word picture. I imagine God sitting high up on a mountain watching his people scramble in futile activity, prideful with their busyness and all they think they are building and accomplishing. Think of a mother or father observing their child from the sidelines of the playground. “Look at me, Mom – no hands!” “I can go on the slide by myself now! I don’t need any help…” The parent still watches over the child and then he falls, scrapes an elbow, takes a swing to the side of the head, or gets pushed to the ground by a bigger kid. Who does he run to?
The Lord waits to show me grace and mercy (when I run to Him). And when I return to Him and rest in Him I shall be saved. In quietness (not busyness or chaos) and confidence (knowing I am where I need to be!) I shall find my strength. Not a momentary strength. Not a re-charging strength to go back to the chaos and striving, but a true strength. The strength of who I am created to be when all the noise of this world is melted away in His presence. When all my worry and desire to be a somebody, or to be told I’m amazing, or recognized – when all that goes away – then I will know my true strength.
In quietness and confidence shall be my strength. It’s starting to make sense.