“In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33 (NIV) Where do people get the idea that if you follow Jesus you can expect a life that is free from failure, disappointment, and loss? This is exactly the opposite of what Jesus says. Jesus confronts His disciples with the realities...
1. The barren woman.
“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor!” (Isa. 54:1).
In the ancient world, the key to survival was to have children—lots of them! Sons and daughters would work your land and care for you when you were old. Without them you would be destitute, so the barren woman had a bleak future—loneliness and poverty.
2. The deserted wife.
“A wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off” (54:6).
There are those who know what this is like. You married young. It seemed that things would work out well, but it wasn’t long before he lost interest in you. All your dreams of joy were shattered. You lost confidence, and you felt that your life was over.
3. The ruined city.
“O afflicted [city], storm-tossed and not comforted” (54:11).
What a picture this is for those who have lost their property or their possessions. One writer translates Isaiah’s words as “a tempest-driven city.” That’s the world in which many of us live: in the cut-throat world of business. It brings relentless pressure, and it drains your soul.
The inclination of the human heart is to seek happiness in three places: children, marriage, and money. Our pride, joy, sense of value, happiness, and security get wrapped up in the children you raise, the person you marry, and the possessions you have. So if your children go off the rails, or your marriage is on the rocks, or your career is in ruins, you feel that your life is a total loss.
Which of these are you most tempted to seek happiness and security in?