“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:10-11
Three months after I got home from the hospital after my brain injury, God whispered to me to plant a flower garden in my front yard. “You must be crazy!” I told him. I was too sick to get out of bed, let alone tug on my overalls and go out and shovel dirt. But I did as I was told, as best as I could manage. As the days turned into months and months into years, the garden became a source of healing not only for myself, but for my community. I cooked for neighbors and strangers alike, feeding them in the garden at a small table near the gurgling fountain. I attended to the needs of the garden and to the needs of others. And do you know what happened? God attended to my needs and more.
Let’s take a close look at the instructions Isaiah gave us. Do you see the three important words? Pour yourself out. We must pour ourselves until nothing is left, meaning, we are no longer focused on ourselves. In pouring ourselves out for others in need, we are richly rewarded. Whatever gloom darkens our hearts and souls is replaced with brightness. We become strong. We thrive like a watered garden. We are like a spring whose source never dries up. Even our desires will be continually satisfied in scorched places. Perhaps Isaiah meant that barren land would not keep us from eating or surviving. But I like to think of my own internal scorched landscape.
My scorched places are the barren, burnt-out beliefs and feelings from past trauma. It seems nothing good grows in those areas in my life. But when I pour myself out to others in need, I find that the scorched places begin to heal. Slowly. Surely. I become strong. My life becomes like a lush, verdant garden. Just like the front yard garden God asked me to plant and tend to, as I tended to others in it.
What are your scorched places? Can you pour yourself out to others so that God can satisfy even your scorched places?
F.R.O.G. Practice: Today, I will take the time to be aware of the scorched places within myself. I will do my best to pour myself out to others today so that I can receive the strength, vitality, and the constant source, that God so wants to give me.