Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
When. Such a small word that we often think of associated with the word “wait”. We don’t want to have to wait so long to see the fulfillment of God’s promises or something good we have been longing for, but we don’t much mind waiting when the word “when” refers to a time we would rather avoid.
Hardships. Pain. Struggles. Death. These things we would rather wait for . . . for a really long time, if we would ever see such times.
And while our flesh would rather avoid difficulties, Isaiah reminds us that there in the midst . . .
. . . When we go through deep waters . . . He will be with us.
. . . When we go through rivers of difficulty . . . we will not drown.
. . . When we walk through the fire of oppression . . . we will not be burned up or consumed.
of precious promises that we are not alone and we will be saved, but not promises that we will never encounter those things we dread.
The Christian walk was supposed to be like Disney World, right? (Never been, but I heard it is amazing).
I don’t know about you, but this girl spent many years of my life fearful of the “whens” I never wanted to experience.
. . . Please, God, don’t ever let me go through a miscarriage, and I will faithfully serve you . . .
. . . Please, God, don’t allow any of my children to suffer allergies or a difficult health problem . . .
. . . Please, God, don’t let me have health problems so I can serve you well. (This one definitely gets teacher’s pet award).
. . . Please, God, don’t let my husband be unfaithful to me . . .
You guessed it. I went through each and every one of the things I had made a deal with God about. And then I stopped making those deals. I was a little suspicious of the character of God. I did not get it because I was not thinking on His level.
The list went on and on, the conditions I set of things I never wanted to endure. But I had removed “grace” and “salvation” from the equation. I had imagined the future apart from God’s ability to enable and save me in the midst. Jesus echoes Isaiah’s sentiment in John 16:33 (NLT):
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Many. Trials. Why, right?
But there is our Savior saying that He had overcome the world. All we need is Him. No matter what we face. He is our Savior. Our lifesaver, waiting for us to call on Him.
We don’t like to have to ask for help in our stubborn pride, and yet help is there. Free.
And then my prayers shifted. “Oh, God, not my will, but yours. Lord, whatever I walk through, may I trust You and glorify you through it all. Use me for Your glory, LORD.”
How about you? Are you going through deep waters now? Is the road ahead uncertain? Are you weary? Do you feel like you are under pressure and enduring fiery flames of hardship?
Reach out, friend. Don’t dread the trials. Grab a hold of the lifesaver and cling onto God’s word. God is with you always.