by Danetta Kellar
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” -Isaiah 55:9-11
Deep in the ancient city of North Africa, behind tall walls and heavy wooden doors, our home nestled at the end of a quiet street. Its massive courtyard was surrounded by long salons, their tiled mosaic walls lined with colorful couches and piles of plush pillows.
Embracing the eastern side of the house was my favorite place to be, a secluded, walled garden.
The heavy rains of October and November transformed the dust to beauty. Though tiny, the garden held orange, fig, rubber and mulberry trees, and the heavy fragrance of Damascus roses perfumed the air most of the year.
One spring afternoon, I sat there alone with my Bible, wrestling with my own opinions, desperate for God to renew my mind with His wisdom in the place of mine. The call to prayer rose up from the local mosque, punctuating my petitions.
I looked around me at the beauty of my hidden refuge. Gazing upward at the bright sky, a dazzling blue, I read Isaiah 55.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts… the heavens seemed to have no end. No end to light. No end to color. No end.
God’s thoughts, like the heavens, are light and space, unrestrained. My thoughts, on the other hand, are confined, awkward, sharp around the edges and sometimes crammed into tight spaces of finite time and energy.
My thoughts are limited. God’s are not.
God’s ways, like the heavens, are life-giving. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
My ways, however, are often exhausting. Sincere, well-planned, and wearying. Selfishness and pride crouch along my carefully forged paths, leaping out and blocking the way.
My ways are not always good. God’s ways are always good.
Like the earth needs water and sunlight, I need God’s wisdom and guidance to bear fruit. His wisdom comes into my life sometimes like a gentle rain, sometimes like a raging storm. In some seasons it cleanses. In others it destroys.
At all times God's wisdom promises life if I will yield to His higher ways.
My thoughts, my ways, must depend on His thoughts and His ways. I want my heart to be like my peaceful North African garden, full of fruit, hanging heavy with the perfume of the Savior who met Paul on the Damascus Road. God has promised the rains will bring life.
Take some time this week and sit outside with Isaiah 55. Study the heavens and the earth, and compare them to Gods ways and your own. Examine the skies and contrast them to the landscape around you, and reflect on how different God’s thoughts are than your own.
Lord, I yield my ways and my thoughts to Your ways and Your thoughts today. Make my heart Your garden. Amen.