Too many times, we listen to other people, popular opinion, the voice of fear, our own insecurities instead of listening to what God says. When we listen to anyone but God, it is like we shoot ourselves in the foot.
Isaiah 43:1 instructs us of who we are to listen to.
“But now, this is what the Lord says. …”
This is a powerful statement. In any situation or circumstances, we need to stop long enough to hear and investigate what God’s perspective is, what God says about our situation.
“But now, this is what the Lord says, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’”(NIV)
God reminds us in this passage that He knows everything about us and He knows our potential. He even knows our capability in our current circumstances.
It is His way of saying there is not an excuse for our fear. Then, kindly, He commands us to not fear, reminding us that He has redeemed us.
Redeem means to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something. I feel the Lord is instructing us to not look at our ability or inability, but to look to Him and His greatness.
Even in our weaknesses, He has us covered.
God goes on to say in Isaiah 43: 1, “I have summoned you and called you by name; you are mine.” (NIV)
Too many times in life, we can feel insignificant, and we must remember God Almighty has hand-picked us and chosen us for a particular task and loves us enough to identify with us and call us part of the family.
All of us have a need to belong, and He claims us.
This passage is rich, and verse two of Isaiah 43 is packed with more promises for us from God: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” (NIV)
All of us encounter difficult waters in life. Tough situations at work, illnesses, loss of someone we love, financial trouble and marital challenges are just a few that come to mind. God is gently telling difficulty is part of life here on earth and when it happens, He will walk beside us.
As I read this passage, I reflected on a time recently I had been wading through water. As I stepped into the lake, the sediment swirled and I could not see very well. I continued walking in the unknown waters slowly, as we all do in life, and suddenly hit a spot that was slippery. I reached to grab my husband to steady me. Do you reach for God to steady you when you encounter the unknown waters of life? He is always there to hang on to.
There have been times in my life that I have felt like the river of life was rising around me and I might not make it. I thought I might drown. My mom was very ill for nine years, and I oversaw her care.
Balancing work, my family, her doctor visits, caregivers, medication and the emotional loss was challenging. I became the parent, and she became the child.
Six years into her illness, my late husband developed cancer and passed away. I was struggling to overcome the heartache of the loss when my father became ill.
In these days, I was not sure I would make it. Being the only sibling in town put the major responsibility of both of them on my plate. All I could do was take one step at a time and hang on the fact that I was not alone; God was with me.
He was faithful to sustain me, walk with me, help me, give me strength and comfort. I had to simply keep my focus on Him.
It was a long and challenging season, and the waters of life could have swept me away, but God was bigger than my challenges.
Since that time, there have been other difficulties and challenges in my life; however, a new confidence in God emerged from the experience I gained years ago. I don’t just know about God, I’ve experienced His faithfulness, love, kindness and sustaining power.
Years have passed since that time, and I am alive and more secure in the love of God than ever before in my life.
When life gives you circumstances you do not want, what you do get is experience. And the experience of walking with God in unknown waters or rushing rivers makes you rich.
Will you join me in listening to what God says instead of the negative voices around you?
I challenge you to take Isaiah 43:1-3 and read it several times and let it sink into your heart.
No doubt, it will encourage and strengthen your heart. Ask God to show you how He sees your situations in life.
Step into the unknown and hang on to Him.
Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. Beginning in September, she will lead a Bible study at The Kroc Center called “The Gathering: Bringing God Into Everyday Life.” To register or reach her, email email@example.com, and visit her podcast at kathleenmaxwellrambie.podbean.com or her blog at www.theMaxwellminutes.blogspot.com.