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Day 5: The Promise of Faith

Scripture to meditate on: Isaiah 11:1-10 The Shoot from Jesse’s Stump
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
    or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
    with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
    with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
    and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
    the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
    and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.

There was a print of Jesus, sitting with a lion and a lamb in my grandmother’s sewing room. When we visited her, I’d always go into the room to see if it was still there. When I finally asked her about it, my reaction was something along the lines of “Wow! How could God know that?” Forgive me, I was 7 or 8 at the time. I hadn’t quite grasped the whole God is omnipresent thing. Then, I came to realize that not only did God know, but that there was a plan.

But still, through my 20’s and part of my 30’s, I thought His plans were all big plans, for important people. And that although God loves me as His own child, my life was too small for His plans except perhaps playing a very minor role or fringe part.

As I look back over my life now, I realize that God did and does have plans for me. And in each of those life turning circumstances, there were people or situations that should not have worked together for my benefit, but that is what happened.

The most recent plan God had for me had to do with my business. My lease was due to be renewed in Nov 2019. I started looking elsewhere early that year. Business was getting worse in that location, the rent went up year by year. I met with real estate agents and actually had two letters of intent signed, then the deals fell through. During my prayer time, I was highly vocal with God at this point asking “Why?” I don’t want to stay where I was. In August of 2019, the landlord acknowledged that the lease was coming to a close and we needed to work out new terms. I was feeling like the lamb to his lion. He wasn’t sounding peaceful. Then…nothing. He never got around to presenting me with a new lease. We went month to month.

In March 2020, COVID came to Virginia. As a non-essential business, customers could not come in even if they wanted to. We switched business models immediately to keep some cash flowing.

In June, the landlord informed me he was ready to have me sign the new lease, with a much higher rent. I gave a 60 day notice, and haven’t looked back.

If I had signed a lease, typically 5-10 years, with anyone else the year before, I’d have gone through my savings just to keep the doors open. If I had felt nervous about being month-to-month, and signed a new 5 year lease, my savings would also be gone.

The circumstances, and the seemingly hostile people, worked together for my good. God had a plan for me.

Think of the times in your life when circumstances were less than ideal. Or you were confused because you thought you were doing the right thing, but nothing moved forward. I hope you felt the shoot of Jesse, lovingly guiding you, letting you know He had plans for you all along.

Questions to ponder:

  • What does this passage say about God?
  • What does this passage say about me or my relationships?
  • What should I do in light of this passage?
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