Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Espresso Beans topped with Justin’s Almond Butter
Today’s Passage: Isaiah 12
Sometimes the shortest chapters are the hardest to write about. Isaiah 12 is six verses about giving thanks to God. I read it and think to myself, “That’s pretty self-explanatory. What could I possibly add to it?”
Well, I could add Isaiah 7:17-11:16. Consider the context: this thankfulness comes to the remnant, following God’s devastating punishments for his people’s sins. Isaiah is predicting Israel’s reaction to God’s mercy. He prophesies: “Then you will say on that day, ‘I will give thanks to You, O Lord; for although You were angry with me, your anger is turned away, and You comfort me'” (12:1). It’s not simple gratitude for, say, ice cream or roller skates. The people will say, “[T]he Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation” (12:2). The thankfulness takes on a different quality when you consider what it took to get there.
I don’t know why we’re wired this way. Why do we have to suffer to appreciate pleasure or even a simple reprieve from suffering? Why can’t we all just be perfect people in a perfect world loving a perfect God from the start? I’m reminded of the final lines from Sara Groves’ “Painting Pictures of Egypt:” “If it comes too quick, I may not appreciate it: is that the reason behind all this time and sand?” For some inscrutable reason, we have to go through the mud, and God has to save us from ourselves–and even from himself, from his anger. Sometimes it all seems so incomprehensible, like it might be better to start with a world with nothing bad and then just keep it that way. But I remember that in Jesus Christ, God himself suffered. God himself went through the mud.