For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. (Isa. 60:2)
A Low Point
My son recently graduated from the U.S. Army Infantry training program. This program lasted fourteen weeks and was extremely intense and challenging – both physically and mentally. The road that led to this moment was an interesting one. You see, our son – then a high school senior – had moved out of our house almost a year to the day earlier.
I’ll spare you the details, but it was a rough time for all concerned. Struggling in a myriad of ways both emotionally and spiritually, he chose to move in with the family of one of his friends. The day he left our house was one of the lowest points I can remember. I did have peace that it wasn’t our fault – thankfully, the Lord confirmed this several ways. Yet still… it was a tough situation to find oneself in.
We did see the Lord working, though. Several weeks after he left, our son expressed interest in the Army. We had not expected this but strongly sensed the Lord in it, so we encouraged him in this direction. Several months went by—he managed to graduate high school and moved back home.
Slowly the Lord began to rebuild relationships. And in late fall—after several delays, he finally entered the infantry program. To curb my anxiety, I memorized Psalm 91! Now I pray this psalm over my children every night, but it started when I sensed the Lord urge me to do this for him.
The changes in our son have been amazing, and I believe God is building a framework for what He intends to do in his life. While the work’s not finished, the Lord has already done an amazing work of restoration in him and our family.
There’s a reason I’m telling you all this, but to convey it properly I need to share one more story…
There never was any real question whether we would travel to our son’s infantry graduation. Any parent would have been proud, but in light of our previous struggles, we were especially delighted to make the journey.
There were two parts to his graduation. The first, called Turning Blue, involved pinning the blue infantry cord on the soldier’s uniform—my husband was planning to pin on our son’s. The second, more formal ceremony was the following day.
I had a hunch that Turning Blue was the ceremony we would most enjoy; it turned out to be correct. It proved far more intimate and allowed the family to interact and take photos mid-ceremony with their soldier. (The formal graduation was fine, but almost anticlimactic in some ways compared to Turning Blue.)
We made very sure we knew how to get to both ceremony locations. The location for Turning Blue was somewhat harder to find, but our son had shown us how to get there when we had visited him once before. It was a longer route via back roads, but we thought we’d have time to find the more direct way when we came back again for grad.
Because of flight cancellations and delays, we were thankful to even get there at all, and didn’t have time to scope out the more direct route like we’d planned. It seemed wiser to take the longer route we knew well as opposed to trying the shorter unfamiliar route, since we could not risk being late. So, we left the hotel that morning with more than an hour for what should have been a twenty-minute drive.
Well into the route the unimaginable happened—we hit a detour. And the unimaginable happened again when signs rerouted us but failed to indicate how to get back on route—yet that’s exactly what they did. Quickly we activated smart phone navigation, which we had not thought we’d need.
One navigation system couldn’t find the location. The next one did, but we encountered another blocked road! My husband stopped to ask directions several times; no one seemed to know how to get there. Meanwhile, the clock kept ticking. Finally, the navigation system told us we had twelve minutes to our destination… the dashboard clock said the ceremony started in eight. With the military, we knew, things would start on time.
It felt like being stuck in a bad dream. After all we’d been through, after all the effort and expense to get there, after our careful thought as to route – to miss our son’s moment was unthinkable. Somehow it felt as if we were being blocked spiritually and I remember declaring that resistance stop in the power of Jesus’ name… and I pled with the Lord to get us there.
Another tense moment occurred when a sign on the right indicated the place we were trying to find. My husband wanted to turn; the navigation said to go straight. I was afraid we’d get back into a tangle of blocked back roads—we went straight. A lot was riding on that decision; and even if we were on route we still might not make it in time.
It was with great relief we saw we had looped around to the area of the direct route—the one we would have taken had we known or had time to find. Then we had to pass through a busy checkpoint again; we’d already been through one but had wandered off base with the detour. Finally, we got to the field – only to find no parking.
It would be interesting to watch film of this… I jumped out of the almost still moving car – in a dress. On the run, I phoned my husband to tell him I saw people parking up front on the grass. (Later I learned someone ran after him with arms waving to stop—he failed to notice somehow!)
As I hurried to the entrance I saw several military people standing there. Helpfully, they asked if I knew what platoon my son was in, then told me where he would stand. Next – to find a seat. The grandstands were full, of course, but I saw a separate section straight ahead that had plenty of empty seats. It looked like VIP seating, but I asked them if we could sit there anyway. “Sure,” I was told, “Go right ahead.”
We ended up sitting on padded seats smack in the center on the very front row—the very best seats in the house. We had thirty seconds to spare, we missed nothing—it was wonderful. At one point officers approached us to chat; it appeared we’d been in VIP seating after all.
Somehow, the Lord redeemed the impossible—the situation with our son… the situation with losing our way. When all hope was lost, He turned it around.
The Best Is Yet To Come
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isa. 40:31)
About two days after we’d returned home, I heard the Lord say something in a morning prayer time. I heard that Turning Blue lifted something off of us; I understood immediately what it meant. I believe the Lord lifted a reproach off of us at that ceremony. No wonder we’d encountered such resistance getting there!
Reproach has to do with disapproval or disappointment and is linked with unmet expectations. It is somewhat different than failure, although failure can lead to reproach; it is a thing that makes the failings of someone or something more apparent.
Biblical reproach is something that comes on a person if there is an occasion in which a disgrace of some kind can become reason for words to be spoken against – or rumors spread about – them. Reproach could come by things like childlessness, defeat in battle, or exile. The psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:22, “Remove from me reproach and contempt, for I have kept Your testimonies.”
There are several important dynamics to understand about the season we are in. The first is, we must recognize that we have entered a season where God is turning things around on our behalf. Isaiah 40:1, 2 and 61:7 say:
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” says your God. “Speak comfort to Jerusalem… that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs.
Also, we need to realize that the worst is over; the best is yet to come. There have been some delays, and there may be more yet. However, we must wait patiently for the Lord and expect Him to act. To wait on the Lord is key right now. (See Isa. 40:31.)
The wind of the Holy Spirit is blowing; in fact, America is windy. And, I just believe there are windows in heaven open right now, which will allow you to do and access things that you could not do and access before.
Do you want to occupy and fill all things? (Luke 19:13; Eph. 1:22, 23) Then grab hold of what God is doing in this season, and watch Him turn it around!
1. Pray for the Lord to increase your faith – declare that you will see Him turn your situation around. (Isa. 61:7)
2. Pray that the glory of the Lord would rise upon you and that He would be your glory. (Isa. 60)
3. Pray and declare that you shall be mighty in the Lord, for He shall be your strength! (Isa. 40:31)
1. Ask the Lord to remove any reproach off your life, and to show you evidence it’s been lifted. (Ps. 119:22)
2. Read and meditate on Isaiah 60—a passage of turning around.