When life takes a difficult turn, we all have quoted Isa 55:9 to ourselves and others, “Well, his ways are not our ways.” It is true that God orchestrates events in ways that surprise and puzzle us. But in reading the book by Dane Ortland, Gentle and Lowly, I was surprised to learn using this verse that way is out of context with Isaiah’s meaning. Your homework assignment is to read Isa 55:6-9.
God calls us to seek him, to call on him, and invites even the wicked to return to him. What happens when we do? God shows his compassion – he will abundantly pardon. What an encouragement to our souls this should be! God abundantly – richly, lavishly pardons! Ortland writes, “He does not merely accept us. He sweeps us up in his arms again.” This is in keeping with the verse, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are higher than your ways.” Our view of God must change. He’s not a mean ogre ready to pounce on us when we mess up. He’s our loving heavenly Father – his love is beyond our comprehension.
God isn’t like us. “Even the most intense human love is but the faintest echo of heaven’s cascading abundance. His heartfelt thoughts for you outstrip what you can receive … God’s thoughts are so much higher than ours that not only he abundantly pardons the penitent; he has determined to bring his people into a future so glorious we can hardly bring ourselves to dare hope for it,” Ortland.
Praise the Lord. Child of God, rest in his love. Puritan John Owen wrote, “The greatest disservice to God is to doubt his love.”