God Is With You
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.” —Isaiah 43:2-5
Here’s a life-transforming truth: God is present. He is with His children, and is especially near during in trials. The references to water and fire in these verses are pictures of hardship. Watersis a general term. River is a specific term. Our trials; my hardship. Fire is also a general term. Flame is a specific term. The take-away is that God is with you—not just in a year or a month or a day, but in an hour, in a minute, in a second! At the precise moment of hardship God is present.
Of course, He is always present, but especially so in hardship. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lordis near to the brokenhearted.”Notice the specificity of God’s measurement of our trials. He says first, “When you walk through the fire (that’s a picture of definite hardship) you shall not be burned.”In other words, it might get really hot and there might be a certain amount of pain and discomfort. But God says, I have My hand on the thermostat. I'm watching where you are in the fire. Trust Me! I'm right there with you!
It’s the same picture in the water. God says, “When you pass through the waters . . . and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.” Now what are you thinking about when you’re going through the river? When you’re neck-deep in water, you’re not worried about getting wet. It’s not your concern. You’re already wet. You think, “How deep is the water? How long can I keep my feet on the bottom?” Then your feet come up off the bottom and you’re thinking, “How long can I tread?” But God tells us, I'm watching the level of the water. I'm checking the intensity of the trial.
You can trust God. He’s present and knows exactly what you’re facing, both the depth and the heat! The result of God’s presence is you are strengthened. The greatest fear is not having enough strength for the fire or the water—for the trial. But God promises that what you face will not overwhelm you. “For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
· Think of your most recent hardships.
· How has God’s presence affected your experiences?
Lord, too often I fail to use trials as clues to Your presence, but instead focus on them with fear or concern. Help me to remember that hardships are part of Your itinerary for me and don’t come as any surprise to You. I realize I can’t learn to trust unless I pass through situations where I have to trust. So continue to train me in Your perfect way, Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.