Isaiah 26:1-21, Isaiah 27:1-13, Psalm 74:12-17, Philippians 4:4-7
It had been a really bad day at work. I nearly quit on the spot. It was that bad. But I was driving home and the sun was setting and the sky was a brilliant cloudy canvas of blue, pink, and purple. The air outside was refreshing and the music I was listening to was doing the trick. I thanked God for all these things as I made my way up the mountain to my home.
And then I smelled it. I looked at my temperature gauge and sure enough, my beloved truck, which had just been in the shop, was overheating. I started to turn the heat up fast and before I could, something under my hood popped really loud—exploded, really. Black smoke began to issue. Thankfully, I was turning onto my street and was able to coast into my driveway.
Turns out my radiator didn’t crack. It blew up. My mechanic had never seen anything like it.
That was Monday.
On Tuesday, our kitchen sink would not drain and we had to call a plumber.
A few days later, we received a call from the counselor at my daughter’s school. It was one of those calls that reminds you that autism is a forever diagnosis and you never know how it will play out in the real world. That same night our microwave died.
My wife and I had one of those talks mixed with tears and laughs because life can be hard enough without everything breaking down around you. But we told each other that everything will break down except for Jesus and His work to save us from our sin, our biggest problem.
Today’s reading from Isaiah opens with a song of confidence in the Lord’s ability to keep us and preserve us. It speaks of God’s ability to bring low the mighty and save the defenseless. But we need to keep in mind its context. These words are to a people whose world seems to be falling apart. When things are humming along just fine, it can be hard to connect with a song that promises rescue. But when we’re struggling or feel like we’re about to be undone, a song of confidence in God’s deliverance takes on new life. When I read the prophet say, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:4), I know I’m reading something that can only be understood once all the props and crutches and glittering baubles of this life have lost their sheen and broken down at the places where we thought they could hold us up.
There are those who have the bank accounts to fix whatever is broken. Maybe you are like us and when the check engine light comes on, you wonder how far you can go before it has to be fixed. What I have learned is that when that light comes on, because I cannot just go to the mechanic and get it fixed, I must trust the God of check engine lights. I am, in those moments, forced to choose whether or not to believe that He is an everlasting rock when everything else breaks down.
The key is not to trust that He will get the truck, sink, and daughter fixed. The key is to trust that what He has promised for us is true. And what has He promised for us? The everlasting rock-solid grace and mercy of what He has done in Jesus. When it all breaks down, the saving work of Jesus—to deliver us from a problem far larger than exploded radiators and even autism—is an everlasting rock.
Written by Matthew B. Redmond