“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 (ESV)
I don’t know about you, but I feel powerless many days. Helpless. Having the right words in the right moments has never been my gift. Normally, I think of the right scripture-filled response a day later, and then the frustrations follow. “Why didn’t I think of that sooner? I could have really helped that person!” I cannot count the number of times I have felt led to speak or share some insight, and I have cowered away because I feel unequipped. All of my AWANA days have failed me. Jokes. 😉
Over the past few summers, serving at a Bible camp with First Nations youth, I have realized my doubts come from my previous disbelief in the passage above. This past summer (2017) I accepted a volunteer-position as program coordinator at this special camp. Despite being a little overwhelmed by it, I embraced the challenge, but I also realized it would remove me from many of the conversations I could have with young girls in a cabin leader position. This was, unfortunately, somewhat relieving because in my mind I suck at those conversations.
Part of the morning ritual at camp is a staff meeting where we share the struggles and triumphs of the previous day, hear a devotional, and pray together. The young adults (some much younger than I) would share about their conversations with campers during cabin time. Many times I felt blown away by their wisdom, maturity, and passion for sharing the Gospel. Like, why wasn’t I that cool at seventeen? But, there were often frustrations expressed about the lack of “deep” conversations. We all want to see conversions and heart change, but sometimes it just does not happen. Well, at least it doesn’t happen in front of our eyes in the moment we want it. Some even struggled like I do to find the words to say hurting children and teens.
One of my responsibilities included sharing the day-to-day plans in our morning staff meetings, but one day I shared a devotional too. God had put Isaiah 55:10-11 on my heart that summer. It was like a nagging thought in the back of my head (the good kind of nagging). Something clicked for me, so I wanted to share it with the others. No matter how inadequate we feel, God has promised that His Word will not return empty. What does this mean? It means we memorize and share His word so that we will build up an arsenal of verses for any moment. We do not have to be creative with our words; the Holy Spirit has already formed the words for us. And, even if we feel like the conversation’s a total bust, it’s not. God’s promised us that.
Picture the first part of the verses. Rain doesn’t just appear out of thin air; it’s a part of the water cycle. It comes from the clouds, nourishes the ground, fills the rivers, and then evaporates to become a cloud again. Yeah, I know that’s not super scientific. While it’s on the earth, it nourishes seeds to become sprouts. Sprouts become food and nourish our bodies. Water encourages and sustains life. Our lives. In the same way, when we speak truth and scripture, it goes out into the great unknown. We may believe it fell on deaf ears, but God says its out there accomplishing His task. Scripture does not just vanish.
So, how do we tap into this power and fulfill God’s purpose in our lives? We have to memorize scripture and study the Bible on a daily basis. When I feel the hopelessness creep up, it is because I have neglected this. Sure, I may have had a ten-minute devo with a quick prayer for the day, but I wasn’t saturating myself with the Word. Remember- we have to put on the full armor of God on a daily basis. This wasn’t just used as a cool, nerdy analogy for those of us who like to read about King Arthur and his knights. It was a command. Read. Study. Memorize. Share. God will take care of the rest.
Need some verses to add to your arsenal?
“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 (ESV)
“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 (ESV)