Empty and Powerless

“I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. (Isaiah 45:2–3, ESV)
Today would have been my dad’s eighty-ninth birthday. I am missing him today. I miss him every day. I miss him more than I can say.

After he died, my mom kindly sent me some of his books. Included was a Bible dad bought as a college student in 1944. One day I noticed something he had scribbled in the margin next to Isaiah 45:2-3. You can just see it there. Here is what he wrote:

“The Lord gave this on 5/31/53 after a hard day of preaching — feeling empty and powerless.”

I can picture my dad sitting up in bed that Sunday night, feeling depleted, needing a word from God. So he pulled open his Bible and came across Isaiah 45:2-3. I am aware of the exegesis of those verses — Cyrus, etc. But God used these verses as a personal promise to my dad, a promise of illumination and insight to a young preacher who had given his all that day and still needed more.

Far beyond any other preacher I have ever heard, my dad had a capacity for insight into the ways of God, according to Scripture, that helped people. God made my dad a promise that night so long ago, and he kept it – many times.

“Empty and powerless.” Perfect.

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