I experienced it again. You know those times when you are meditating on Scripture and suddenly…Aha! You see something that you have missed the numerous times before when you were reading that same passage. My latest experience came from reading the following verse:I experienced it again. You know those times when you are meditating on Scripture and suddenly…Aha! You see something that you have missed the numerous times before when you were reading that same passage. My latest experience came from reading the following verse:
We were with child, we writhed in labor, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth, and the people of the world have not come to life.
– Isaiah 26:18 (NIV)
The phrase we gave birth to wind grabbed a hold of my mind and I haven’t been able to shake it, even days later. As a man, I cannot begin to understand what a mother goes through for nine months and then in labor to bring a child into this world. I will never forget my wife’s agony in her labor pains and all I could do is say blow or push. Ah, but the joy on her face when she was able to hold our son for the first time was so radiant. As a pastor, however, I’ve been at the hospital when a mother delivered a still born baby. There are no words to describe her misery. To give nine months of your life and hours of extreme pain only to look at a dead baby has to be terrible.
Isaiah, in chapter 26, praises God for His blessings and even His disciplining. He acknowledges the expected results God’s people receive as they go through His discipline and how the wicked do not have those benefits when God brings punishment on them. Israel had sinned and despite warnings from God continued to sin. God finally had enough and allowed His people to go into slavery. God disciplined His people and brought them to the place where all they could do was whisper their prayers (Isaiah 26:16), but He heard them and delivered them. Israel was in pain like a woman giving birth, except that their travail produced nothing (wind)! Israel failed to give birth to the blessings God wanted them to bring to the world. They failed before God’s discipline and during God’s discipline.
So, why is this bothering me so much? Well, here are the questions I keep asking myself.
1. Am I learning the valuable lessons God wants me to learn in my tough times or am I wasting a painful situation by producing just wind?
2. Jesus said, “…Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV). Paul states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NIV). So, how much of my ministry is Christ in me and therefore producing lasting fruit? Or how much of my ministry is based on self and therefore producing just wind?
3. The word translated “wind” also can be translated “spirit” Am I bringing to others the Spirit of God or am I just blowing wind? Have I brought salvation (Jesus) to this world or am I leaving people the same as before – without life, without God, without the Spirit?
Why not ask yourself these same questions.
—- Pastor Steve