Monday, December 25, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: When God opened the Heavens for humankind

Rend the Heavens
A devotional by Kerry Sue Teravskis

“Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you.”—Isaiah 64:1 (NIV)

One year while in Mexicali, a Mexican border town below Southern California, my college sweetheart (now husband) and I were with over 3,000 high schoolers, youth pastors, and others to serve and minister to the churches in that region of Baja California. For one week, we lived in tents, used bottled water, had minimal showers, and ate cafeteria-style food out in the open field.

It was beautiful because it was about the people and serving God.

However, because it is in the desert, Mexicali is very hot and can get very windy. This one year, the winds were powerful, lifting tents and their contents all through “Tent City” while the youth with their pastors were in the various villages doing vacation Bible school, service projects and the like.

Those of us on the tent crew could only watch as the tents flew past. Sand and dust were flying everywhere, stinging our eyes and coating our teeth with grime. Torn tents, misplaced belongings, and shocked campers reigned that night in camp. They usually returned late at night, tired, hungry and in desperate need of a shower (but not getting one that day, nor on the previous days). The sight which met them was most unwelcome.

Setting things to right, repairing tents, finding belongings and getting settled for the night—all with a good attitude—was most important. Amazingly, it did happen. There were a few complaints, but for the most part, folks took it in stride, as a natural part of working in a third world country with little amenities, and on a mission’s trip.

Isaiah desperately asked God to rend the heavens because he needed God’s presence immediately. He desired for God to dismiss the divide between Himself and Israel. He asked for a rending. A rending is a tearing. A ripping. Intentional or not, it is a separation of one object into two. Usually a tearing leaves ragged edges (and for this seamstress, not the easiest to repair).

A ripping is done because stress is placed upon the object that could no longer hold itself together. A water balloon filled to the breaking point always breaks. It bursts open and water splatters everywhere. It’s fun for when you are playing with water balloons, but it’s not always fun with other objects such as tents that you need for shelter.

Like matters of the heart or in times of pain, hurt, affliction, and struggles. When our pain gets too intense, relief is cried for, begged for and uppermost on our minds. The prophet Isaiah was crying out for God to rend the heavens. I believe he was saying, “Rip them open, God! Do something. Break into our world.”

What’s interesting is what Isaiah said previously in Isaiah 63:15. He asked God to look. But he moved past that to the desperate cry for a rending. He did not want just a glance, a look or God’s attention. He wanted and desired God’s action. Isaiah wanted God to rend the barrier between God and humankind. And to him, the barrier was Heaven (the place where God lives).

God did indeed rip apart the heavens—on purpose and with purpose—for us. He planned a course of action for His people. God sent His Son to step into our neighborhood (John 1:14) with the cry of a baby, just like it says in Luke 2:6 (NLT): “And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.” God split the divide. He tore the veil between His glory and our sin. He did it. We did not. Nor could we. God heard the cry of Isaiah and answered.

Does God still do this, many thousands of years later? When we cry out for Him to rend the heavens, does He still engage? Does God care enough to be in our lives or does He just look down upon us?

I would say a resounding yes! Looking around would draw this same conclusion, but at times it could be perceived as cloudy or obscured because of the vast suffering, brokenness, and obvious lawlessness in this world. It’s when we ask the old-timers, the pastors, the new believers, we see the calm assurance God is indeed for us. Sometimes, we who have been walking with Jesus Christ for a bit, get lost, discouraged, or tainted.

Let us shout the battle cry, “Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down!” Let us believe, without a shadow of doubt, God will. Even if it is not immediate, God does answer. He does hear because He is not deaf. He is not disinterested, He is not put off, He is not unapproachable. God is for us.

God was with us when His Son (Jesus Christ) did rend the heavens and walk here on this Earth (John 1:14). And when Jesus returned to Heaven, He left His Holy Spirit with us so we could be filled with Him. Filled to bursting like a water balloon. Filled to overflowing like water in a cup. Let us hold onto this and bask in God’s goodness. Let us not lose hope. Let us endure, abide, and remain in the everlasting arms of our Heavenly Father (God).

Let’s Pray: Oh God, rip the heavens to come to this hurting—and sometimes stubborn—heart. I need You. I need to know You are in my neighborhood and in my life. I need to know that You are for me and are concerned about my pain. I need You, Lord. I admit my wanderings and ask for you to forgive me for going astray. I submit to You and Your hand of love. I find my comfort and solace in You alone, God. Thank You for being holy and calling me to holiness as You come down to Earth and actually call me higher to Heaven. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Let The Heavens Open (Live)” by Kari Jobe. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

As a wife and Marmee to three adult children and one brand new daughter-in-love, Kerry Sue’s life is very full. She met her husband in college and served in the mission field with him for a few years before settling down back in the United States of America to raise their family. 

Kerry Sue’s family was a homeschooling family for 20 years and they enjoyed it immensely. For the last 23 years they have lived on a small farm in Northern California where they have raised many farm animals, along with growing and preserving their food. Kerry Sue’s family farm has been a great source of enjoyment and a place to host many family gatherings. She maintains an open-door policy for dear friends—old and new.

Following and serving Jesus Christ is an integral part of Kerry Sue’s life as well as her family’s.

Whether it’s singing in our church choir, teaching children or leading and lecturing at a women’s Bible study, Kerry Sue loves to demonstrate her love for Jesus by giving to Him in service. She’s been a blogger for more than eight years, a Bible study writer for two years, and a devotional writer for about one year.

Kerry Sue writes about finding God’s Sovereignty in our pain and suffering.

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