I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a rough week.
Sometimes I get really stuck in the dark and I cannot see the way ahead. There are a lot of lies that whisper to me when the lights go out. It makes my head much like a haunted house and a heavy rock of grief, stress and fear sits on my chest and it actually feels harder to breath.
This morning during corporate worship I was desperate to get away from myself and see God. I picked up my Bible and opened to Isaiah because I remembered some good stuff in there where God says who he is in a very direct way.
Isaiah 43 has been an important chapter to me for the past ten years. Before doing the School of Biblical Studies, I had a hard time reading the Bible at all. Except for Isaiah 43. My struggle was that I couldn’t see how any of the words were really for me… people talked about “claiming the promises of God,” but I couldn’t see how any of those promises were for me… They were written for Israel many hundreds of years ago. When I first joined up with YWAM in 2003, a parent of one of the other students felt strongly that Isaiah 43 was for us and so, in Thailand, we all sat down and read it together.
With the first words my heart yearned, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 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….
My heart longed, but I still felt like this could not be for me. Just as I started thinking this, I came across these words somewhere in the middle of the chapter designating who God was talking to, “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” And that, finally, was me.
Studying using the inductive method in 2012, I spent a lot of time finding out who the original readers and hearers of these books were. To my surprise, this was what allowed me to see that I can claim many of the promises that used to seem so out of reach. Here is why; God is the same. The God who made these amazing promises of presence, help, love and salvation to the people or Israel is the same God I follow. His plan from the beginning was to bless the whole world and now I get to be a small part of that.
And so this morning, as I stood in a heavy darkness I read, “FEAR NOT! I have redeemed you! I have called you by name, YOU ARE MINE!”
The haunted house inside of me quieted and I believed him. I believe that no matter how I feel, even when I have no idea how to remove this rock from my chest, I belong to a good and loving and powerful God who hears me and will come to my rescue.