walk in the word
2“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. 3For 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. 4Because 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. 5Fear 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 another life-transforming truth: God is present. He is with His children, and is especially near during trials. The references to water and fire in these verses are pictures of hardship. Waters is 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 in your specific trials—not just throughout 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.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” In light of His nearness, notice the specificity of God’s measurement of our trials. He says first, “When you walk through the fire (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.” What are you thinking about when you’re going through a river? When you’re neck-deep in water, you’re not worried about getting wet. You’re already wet. You’re thinking, “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 Him. God is present and knows exactly what you’re facing, both the depth and the heat. Your greatest fear may be that you can’t endure the trial. But the result of God’s presence is that you are strengthened—and He promises what you face will not overwhelm you.
Just as Paul declared in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” you can “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). How? By walking in faith, because “the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” is with you! And the resources and strength He provides are all you really need.
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 first pass through situations where I have to trust. So continue to train me in Your perfect way, Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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