Did you read that verse? Woohoo! I’m never going to drown or get burned up! I’m bulletproof! Cue the happy dance!
Umm… err… no.
That’s not at all what the prophet Isaiah was telling the redeemed of God.
What he really said was, “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.”
Let’s break that down.
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.” We’ve often heard the term, “drowning in fear,” and “going down for the last time” when talking about being overwhelmed by something.
God’s response is, “I redeemed you. WHEN you feel overwhelmed, don’t worry, I’m there with you.”
God knows He designed humans who would not like tense situations or would be fearful of everything. He knows us.
His answer is His presence.
No matter what that scary circumstance is that looms before us, we can walk into it knowing that Almighty God is WITH us.
“When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.” God is talking to a people whose ancestors walked across a sea and a river on dry ground. I don’t know about you, but that walking between two walls of water twice my height or more would invoke great fear.
God understands our hearts when difficulties hit us. He knows the directions our minds take. And He tells us that in those rivers of difficulty we won’t drown.
Note that He doesn’t say we won’t have to go through these rivers. He says WHEN we do, we won’t drown in them.
Believer, if you’re in a river of difficulty right now, reach up! God is with you! He’s the one keeping your head above the water. He will help you through and you will not drown.
Lastly, “When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
Not many of us in Western Civilization know the oppression that believers around the world know. We might get called an uncomplimentary name, while they might have their children stolen. We might have a traffic jam make us late for church while they can’t sing aloud for fear of being found out and killed. All at the hands of their government.
Still, our hearts and minds can feel oppressed, beaten down, and enslaved by those in power. It feels like a fire we can’t escape from. A weight holds us in place, keeping us from leaving the flames.
God says WHEN we are in those fires of oppression (we WILL encounter them) we’re not going to be consumed by that oppression. He won’t always snatch us out of the fire, but He will always be with us there.
God’s aim is for us to rely on Him completely, not just when life is suddenly hard. It’s up to us to seek Him. He promised we would find Him if we do so with all our hearts. It’s up to us to develop and maintain a right relationship with God. Then, when overwhelming circumstances, rivers of difficulty, and fires of oppression come, we’re prepared because we know that Almighty God is with us, no matter how dire the situation is, He is there.
If you’re in that overwhelm, river, or fire today, call out to Him. He will lead you and comfort you as you move through that which you feel will destroy you.
If you’re not in those dire circumstances today, get prepared! They’re coming your way at some time. Today is a great day to practice being in Almighty God’s presence.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.