Isaiah 30:20-22: “And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. They you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, ‘Be gone!'”
Very often I have discovered that adversity and affliction are my classrooms of sanctification. I wish I could learn life’s lessons without having to walk through dark valleys, but that’s not the way of it. The wording used by the Teacher in Isaiah 30 is so interesting – He compares adversity and affliction with bread and water. These are things we need. They give us strength and nourishment, and we must partake of them often. But He promises not to hide Himself from us in the midst of it all. He promises that this food will cause us to hate our idols and cast them away.
I would love to live my life only eating sweets, but bread and water are essential to my survival. I must learn to live James 1:3-4: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” If perfection and completion are the goal – that is, total sanctification in Christ – the bread of adversity and the water of affliction must be joyfully digested. Make it so, Lord.