A Christian counselor once recommended I read the book of Isaiah. At that time in my life, I was overwhelmed by how badly I felt physically plus discouraged with my lack of focus and inability to find any passion and purpose. Reading through the book of Isaiah was the beginning of the end of that valley.

The book of Isaiah focuses on the message of rescue and restoration. Today, several passages from this Old Testament book serve as compass verses to encourage me whenever I sense that I am becoming overwhelmed with the maladies and even just the routine of life again. Even more importantly, they refocus my feelings and bring me to a place of being overwhelmed with God instead of with life.

The 2nd verse in chapter 12 is highlighted to help focus me on expressing praise for my salvation. The 3rd and 4th verses of chapter 6 speak to perfect peace. Don’t you love the idea of a peace that is perfect? There are several verses in chapter 30 and 33 highlighted that emphasize waiting. They remind me that when we truly wait on the Lord, we discover He was waiting for us to wait on Him. Chapter 40 has several verses highlighted focusing on the comfort that God offers His people.

While there are many verses I have highlighted in Isaiah, and really the entire book encourages and uplifts me, two verses serve as an anchor in times of discouragement. When I first read the verse in the Spring of 2010, I truly felt like God spoke directly to me. The Bible is certainly one way God speaks to us, and this was definitely an “ah hah” moment like never before for me.

“Do not call to mind the former things or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the dessert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

I certainly felt lost in an endless forest and at the same time stranded in the middle of a dry desert. Those verses assured me that God had plans for me that I couldn’t even imagine. When I thought the way out and through was impossible, these verses reminded me that what God did for Israel, He would do for me too. He took my focus off the past and the way my life had been and focused me on the future He had planned. I became overwhelmed with Him once again.

God did and continues to make a path in the forest and a stream in the desert for me. He healed my body. He restored my marriage. He worked and continues to work in amazing way in my boys’ lives. He healed me from depression and continues to give me victory over that area of weakness in my life. He also gave me a passion for writing again, and in that a purpose to do His will with a writing ministry. My imaginations never came close to guessing at what God has done in my life since then. I love that about God. He always does way better than we can imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

When I am discouraged, reading through the verses I have highlighted in Isaiah never fails to encourage me. Not only am I encouraged, but every time I read them a sense of awe and overwhelm with God fills me once again. Much like a compass gives our wanderings on this earth direction, God’s words in Isaiah give my spirit direction as I struggle to victory this side of heaven.