While we may not want to admit it, we have been outmaneuvered. We thought we could manage our lives just fine. We were sure we knew best. We thought we were making the right choices, but all the while we were making bad decisions with devastating consequences. We couldn’t have been more wrong. We look back at our lives and feel regret. If only I had known this would have turned out like this, I would have done it differently. God knows when we make a bad choice, and he doesn’t say “I told you so.” He just opens his arms and lets us come home.
The prophet Isaiah pointed to ancient Judah as an example of how we try to handle things on our own but fail. Judah faced an ominous threat from the powerful, aggressive nation of Assyria. Instead of trusting God, they did everything they could without asking for God’s help. First, they went to Egypt, and then they tried to buy their freedom from the Assyrians. It finally dawned on them, as they saw their stupidity demonstrated right before their eyes, that they had been played for fools. The Assyrian horde had taken their money and double-crossed them. The Assyrians never had any intention of leaving. They were preparing to attack. Now Judah called on God—not the noblest motivation because God was their last resort. What is so surprising is that God heard their cry and came to their aid.
Here is their prayer, “O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress” (Isa 33:2). The amazing thing is that when we finally do trust God, we find that he is more than enough to take care of us. We realize how foolish it was to not go to him from the very start. They cry aloud in the streets and are a broken people (Isa 33:7-9). They have made a mess out of things and have no idea how to fix it.
Now here we are at this broken state with our messed up lives. We do not even know which way to turn, and we have no idea how to fix the problem. The best thing that has happened to us is that in our brokenness we begin to see our stupidity of not depending on God, and what stupidity it is. Why didn’t we go to him in the first place? The one good thing is that our brokenness invites God into our lives. God says, “”Now will I arise,” says the LORD “Now will I be exalted; now will I be lifted up” (Isa 33:10). That “now” is a beautiful thing because it represents our brokenness as God’s opportunity to work in our lives.
Now that we have turned to God and repented of our rebellious ways, we can see God in another light. Isaiah says, “Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar” (Isa 33:17). We could never see God, and now we can see him in all his beauty. What a wonderful thing it is to see how lovely Jesus is. As Solomon wrote, “he is altogether lovely” (Song of Solomon 5:16). With that loveliness comes a sense of purpose and direction for our life.