Living and working as pastor on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean has all perks that you might expect. My house on a hill has a sweeping view of the Caribbean out the back and a beautiful view of the island out the front.
One of the aspects of my life in the tropics, though, means hard work more than fun in the sun.
During the rainy season, it pours in Antigua like nowhere else that I have ever lived. During these times I feel like I can almost see the plants, bushes, and trees of my yard growing. This is a problem because I want to do anything and everything I can to maintain those beautiful views. So, I am locked in a constant struggle to keep that tropical growth under control.
These words from Isaiah talk about the results of rain that comes down from heaven. It uses this example not to teach us about gardening, but to teach us about the unfailing results of the word of God.
"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 55:10-11).
These words, spoken from God's perspective, make a few things very clear. God could have chosen to zap us with lightening, but instead he works in human heart through the word. That word "goes out from" the mouth of God. We can read that word and be confident that it comes from God. The effect that God desires from his word is that we put our faith in him, specifically in his son, Jesus Christ as our Savior.
I would hope that you are maybe nodding in agreement with that list, but still, it is so easy to ignore that word when the time is right to use it.
When a friend or family member is sick or has a major problem, the words "it'll get better" can easily come out of our lips instead of finding the word which, God says, will actually make things better. When we have problems of our own, it is easy to find all of our comfort in all kinds of things instead of finding the "peace that passes all understanding" in Jesus.
Actions that show a lack of trust in the power of God's word show an inner attitude that lacks trust in God himself. It shows that we do not actually trust God completely. It shows our sin.
Amazingly, God's word still comes to us, like rain falling from heaven. It comes to us with a message as simple and clear as water itself. That word tells us of those sins forgiven and life eternal in Jesus. It offers us a free and full pardon by what Jesus has done.
Just like the tropical rains that make things grow in my yard, so also God promises that his word will work in us to grow true faith in him.