Critics say that the Bible teaches a negative message of hell fire and damnation. I think that’s because they don’t read it very much, if at all . In fact, scripture is anything but a pessimistic media; at it’s core is an eternal optimism. When I read my Bible, more often than not, I find heart-touching hope and encouragement.
I read today from Isaiah, when the following portion from chapter 30 spoke to me:
18 And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.
The Lord could still trumpet His message of hope and graciousness in the midst of addressing a rebellious people and situation: That doesn’t sound very hell-fire and damnation to me.
I was particularly captivated by the words, “And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you”. Think about it. God waits for us to straighten ourselves out, to learn the lesson, to pick ourselves up after the fall, to return to him: What patience and humility He exhibits! And when we do so He will be “gracious unto you”. And then in the following verse (19) he repeats this theme of graciousness:
“…thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.”
I know from experience, after one has fallen in the way, blown it, made the mistake, done the wrong thing, gotten off course, and turns again to the Lord in prayer, that certainly is the time this promised ‘graciousness’ is sorely needed to counter the Devils’ condemnation, personal remorse, and discouragement.
Thank God for his patient waiting or, if you prefer, his waiting patience.
I hope to write more fully on this subject at a later date but hope in the meantime that this is a help.