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Oct 01, 2021 08:00am
Where is God in My Struggle?
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In Isaiah 43, God’s people prepared for a journey. A long journey. A challenging journey. One sure to present danger and hardships. A journey much like the one we face every day. Our destination is a heavenly home with no pain or sadness or hurt . . . but we’re not there yet. Today, we travel.

“But now, O {Jacob}, listen to the LORD who created you. O {Israel}, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 (NLT)

Replace “Jacob” and “Israel” with your name and read that again: 

“O, _____, listen to the Lord who created you.

O, _____, the one who formed you says not to be afraid.”

It’s not a coincidence God’s first words command us to listen. Nothing else matters if His words fall on deaf ears. When I read this verse the image of a father and son fills my mind. Dad is bent down so he can look his son in the eye. He wraps his arm around his son and pleads with him to listen. He assures him, “Do not be afraid,” and promises, “You are mine.”

I have four sons. They don’t always listen when their Daddy talks. Maybe the television is on, and they sneak a glance. Maybe a brother or sister runs by with a toy they want. Maybe a squirrel buries an acorn in the yard. Other things vie for their attention, and all too often they are distracted. Are you distracted? Even now, when you read the promises of your Father, do you really hear them?

I created you.

I formed you.

I ransomed you.

I called you by name.

You are mine.

It’s like a pep talk before the big game. After that, how can you not run onto the field fired up and expecting victory? But you still have a game to play, and the odds are it won’t all go according to the plan. That’s OK, though. God knows what we’re up against.

“‘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.” Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

Deep waters offer no rest. You must swim until you reach more shallow waters. Rivers create a current that drags you downstream, pulling you away from the shore. The work is exhausting, maybe even overwhelming at times. But God promises you will not drown. When our feet can’t reach the bottom and the current is too strong, He is the life preserver. When we cannot swim any longer, we can float in His arms.

Fire hurts. Steps through fire bring pain and discomfort, but fire can also be useful. God controls the thermostat. The flames may be hot enough to refine and purify us (Psalm 12:6) or loosen chains that bind us (Daniel 3:20-25), but they will not consume us.

Your head may be barely bobbing above the water today. Your face may be layered with ashes. Tears may stream down your face or sweat down your brow. You may be tired, worn, hurt. “Do not be afraid.”

I created you.

I formed you.

I ransomed you.

I called you by name.

You are mine.

 Are you facing a fire? Are you fighting a current? What do these promises mean to you? 

They are life, hope, and peace in a broken world full of pain.

Copyright © 2021 by Katy McCown @https://katymccown.com No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.