I read this passage a couple of months ago and I keep having to come back to this one verse…
Isaiah 30:20 – “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.”
This verse falls in the midst of Isaiah telling us that when we cry for help, God hears us and answers us right away (v. 19) and that God will give us guidance as to what path we should take (v. 21). This passage is one of my favorites.
Except for verse 20.
Bread and water are life-sustaining. Without them we would physically die. Is it possible that God views adversity and affliction equally as life-sustaining and necessary to our spiritual selves?
Bread and water fill us up, help us grow, and sustain our lives. Obviously they are used in the Bible as a metaphor for Jesus’ – whose death on the cross allows us to live eternally. In John 6:35, Jesus says, “…I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
It seems to me that adversity and affliction certainly help us grow spiritually. Maybe this is why they are referred to as bread and water. I know that the tough times in my life have resulted in deeper faith, closer relationship to God, and a deeper reliance on Him.
But are they essential to our spiritual lives? Do we have to experience the adversity and affliction? Can’t the by-products of such experiences come easier?
And I guess the answer is no. So in the midst of difficulty I tell myself to hunker down. To give thanks in all circumstances. To remember how good and faithful God has been to me and praise Him for it. To remember that He can use all things for the good of those who love Him (including bad circumstances maybe meant to teach me something).
So although I may never be hungry for the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, I can still praise God that He can use them to make me more like Jesus.
Would you like to share how you’ve grown from bread of adversity and water of affliction?