“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” (Isaiah 55:8 )
Christians often quote Isaiah 55:8 when life takes a surprising twist. We say something like “Well, God’s ways certainly are not our ways.”
But here is the context: “Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”
After those words, our verse for today begins with “For.” Our way is not to extend mercy and pardon to people who wrong us. We tend to nurse grudges, harbor bits of bitterness, and avoid offenders.
But God’s way is totally unlike ours. In effect, God says, “When you sin, seek me out, and I will pardon you — freely, immediately. I know that’s not the way you think. You put your offenders on hold before you reluctantly forgive them, but that’s not my way. Come on, talk to me about it. You’ll be surprised at how quickly I will forgive you. And when we’re back together, You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.’”
What a new way of thinking! Who would have imagined that the holy Lord Almighty (see Isaiah 6:3) would think and act that way toward people like us!
Lent is a good time to be surprised by God’s way of thinking about sin and forgiveness.
Lord, make my thoughts as Your thoughts and my ways as Your ways. Amen.