1 And then shall that which is written come to pass: Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.
2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes;
3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left, and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
(3 Nephi 22:1-3, Isaiah 54:1-3)
Have you ever been discouraged because you’ve been working hard with nothing meaningful to show for your efforts? Sometimes in the middle of a project, the progress is impossible to see. There may be no visible progress for a long time. It can be hard to maintain faith under those circumstances.
In the passage above, Isaiah tells the children of Israel to ignore the apparent failure of their current efforts and to prepare themselves for success. “More are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife,” he says. If you feel like a failure today, envision a future in which you are doing better than the people who seem most successful today.
Yesterday, we discussed the fact that our work is most effective when we have confidence that the Lord is protecting and supporting us. Today’s message is bigger. We can not only do today’s work with confidence; we can also plan for a successful future.
“Enlarge the place of thy tent,” says Isaiah. “Lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes.” I love the way these phrases are rendered in some other translations of the Bible:
- “Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense!” (New Living Translation)
- “Make your tent larger, stretch your tent curtains farther out! Spare no effort, lengthen your ropes, and pound your stakes deep.” (NET Bible)
- “Make your tents larger! Spread out the tent pegs; fasten them firmly.” (Contemporary English Version)
(See Isaiah 54:2 on biblehub.com.)
I think the Lord is trying to tell us that we show our faith in Him by preparing for the blessings He has promised us, even before we see those blessings begin to materialize. Faith is action in advance of evidence.
Today, I will work in anticipation of a bright future. In my family, at work, and in my church and community responsibilities, I will prepare now for future success. I will “enlarge the place of my tent.”