In verses 1-8, Isaiah shows that even when Jerusalem is completely surrounded by a ruthless enemy bent on the destruction of the city—even when the people of Jerusalem are at death’s door and their voice is just a hoarse, ghostly whisper from the dust—even when it looks like there is no hope whatsoever—at that very moment, the last possible moment, the Lord of hosts is able to transform the situation out of all recognition!
If you’re a regular reader of Gentle Reformation, you may recall that a few months ago I posted an article entitled ‘Perfect Peace in the Face of a Loved One’s Cancer’ which I wrote shortly after hearing the news that my unbelieving father had been diagnosed with bile duct cancer. It seems fitting today to write a sequel to that article and reflect a little on some of the things I said then, since my Dad was hospitalised on 22 October and died one week later on 29 October.
Over the course of the months since Dad was diagnosed in March my mum, sister and I increased our exhortations to him to repent of his sins and trust Christ as his Saviour. We had honest conversations with him in which he shared some of his biggest hang-ups about Christianity. We gave him several books and tracts of varying size and detail to help him with his questions, but he said he didn’t have the energy to concentrate on reading.
Back in June it looked like he was on the brink of liver failure and I was told he may not have long before his lucidity began to fade. Since I was out of the country at the time, I sent him a long and heartfelt email explaining the gospel (again) and urging him to trust Christ. To no avail. He read it, but his only comment was that I seemed to be overreacting. When he continued to plead that he couldn’t focus on reading I started sending short (3 minute) video clips of able pastors and theologians speaking to the very issues he claimed were holding him back from believing the gospel. I didn’t bombard him with these (though he might have argued that one clip every other day did count as a bombardment!), but as far as I can tell he didn’t watch too many, if any, of these.
Throughout these months my congregation was faithfully praying along with us that God would change Dad’s heart, as were many many other friends across the world. And yet there seemed to be no sign that anything was changing and we lived with the constant feeling that time was running out. I continued to hold on to the truths I wrote about in my previous article: that my heavenly Father was sovereign and good and that he would do what was right—even if that didn’t mean my Dad’s salvation. God continued to give me that perfect peace of Isaiah 26.3 for those whose minds are stayed on him, even though I also lived with a sense of growing sadness that it looked like Dad would be lost.