Apropos of nothing in particular, these two passages of prophetic scripture are speaking very powerfully to me right now, to this ministry with abused and neglected kids I seem to have been called to.
This passage from Isaiah 54 has long resonated with me, for a couple of years now, and I feel in my bones as if this promise — because my wife and I do not have children of our own — has been made specifically to us:
1 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
3 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities.
(Isaiah 54:1-3 ESV)
And this passage from Jeremiah 31 — a stunningly beautiful chapter that begins with God promising to gather the scattered people of Israel and redeem them from their sin and their exile — describes, I think, with intense beauty this ministry I find myself doing:
15 Thus says the Lord:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.”
16 Thus says the Lord:
“Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work,
declares the Lord,
and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17 There is hope for your future,
declares the Lord,
and your children shall come back to their own country.
(Jeremiah 31:15-17 ESV)
“For I will satisfy the weary soul,” God promises toward the end of the chapter, “and every languishing soul I will replenish.”
Amen. Let it be, Lord. Let it be.