“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.” Isaiah 43:2 ESV
Have you ever been in a situation that was just overwhelming? Are you now? This verse speaks to those times in life. The times that you just aren’t even sure what to pray because you don’t know what a good result would be. Or the times that you know where the diagnosis will end and you would love to pray for healing but it is doubtful that that will be the end result. It is a comfort to know that even though you feel like you are walking right into a rushing river that He will be with you.
This verse also may speak to me because probably my two greatest fears would be drowning or being burned in a fire. I am somewhat of a chicken I will admit to that. That’s why I like the simplicity of the way the NLT puts this verse.
“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
Also note that this verse starts with “when”. It doesn’t say “if”. Trials are sure to come for us all. Life on earth is not perfect. We can know that trials are going to come for the believer as well as the unbeliever. The difference is we have our God to walk with us through the trial. Personally, I can’t imagine going through life without God to walk with me through the waters. I like that this verse in the NLT puts it plainly “you will not drown”. I have had things that were so overwhelming to me I thought I was walking through a raging river. I had to remind myself breathe in, breathe out. Or at least I felt like I had to anyway. But to know and to stand on the truth that He is with me no matter what it is a comfort to know that I will not drown in the trial.
There is another point here. This text was encouragement for the Jews who were in exile. They were there because of their own disobedience to God. They had not followed God and had sinned and because of it they were now exiled in a foreign land. Yet God in His tender love and mercy was promising them that even though life was not going as they had planned, He was going to be with them. He would be with them in spite of their disobedience because they belonged to Him. This text doesn’t say if you do everything right I will go through the deep waters with you. There is no distinction. You see if you belong to Him, He is going to go with you wherever you go. If your trial is from your own making or if it is just circumstances of life or sickness, He will be there. If you can’t see Him, ask Him to let you see Him.
Many times if I am going through a hard time, and I don’t feel Him, I will ask Him to let me see Him and He will. Several years ago I was going through a sad time, and I determined to myself to look for something beautiful every day. I remember getting in my car to go to work one day and it was very foggy, gray and dreary. I had the thought, “well Lord, I don’t know how I will see anything beautiful on my way to work today.” Well just down the road I was stuck in traffic and I looked over at a field that had these silos and buildings in the distance and the sun was trying to burn through the fog. It was a most beautiful picture as the sun burning through made that fog shine a beautiful shimmery silver and the buildings were silhouettes against the backdrop. I know I am probably not explaining it well. But I remember smiling because I knew this was my something beautiful for that day. If your heart is heavy or just as a good practice. Ask Him for beautiful, Ask Him to let you see something to remind you that He is near you. It may be in a sunrise or a sunset, or a baby’s laugh or a gentle breeze. I know He is with me just because He says it in His word, but if I ask Him then I look for Him, He will let me see Him and feel Him too.