This is what the Lord says… Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
In the last few days and hours, crises have seemed to rock many of our friends around the world: the charges against a pastor of a large church in Singapore, the approval of Obamacare in the USA, the fatal shooting at Fort Bragg, the wildfires in Colorado, not to mention the ongoing financial crisis around the Euro, and many other personal crises. (Against all of this the loss of Germany to Italy last night, seems insignificant.)
When crises seem to multiply, when we feel overwhelmed and concerned, these are the times above all other times we need to obey the biblical mandate to be still and know that He is God. Strength to face the challenges and to fight the battles of life never comes to us when we are overwhelmed and distracted – it comes when we focus on God and rely on Him.
For most of us, I believe, to withdraw daily from the conflict to recharge our spiritual batteries, to step away from overbearing responsibilities, to meet God in His word and on our knees in prayer, is the best preparation to face the challenges of life. There can be times in true crises when we barely have the time to step away at all, but then especially I believe we should still do it. The simple fact of human nature is that we are weak and prone to panic, rash decisions, discouragements, fears, and worries. We need His strength and His perspective.
For this very reason the Bible is filled with encouragements. I know some people who choose cute little sayings instead of the meat of God’s word, but I believe that is an inferior choice. We need the strength of God’s inspired word, and not the appearance of strength from someone’s cleverness.
God says to us His people that He knows the purpose for which He has chosen us, and even before He had called us He knew every trial we would face. He will face them with us, and promises to strengthen us, encourage us, and to guide us. “Fear not, I have redeemed you … when you pass through the waters, I will be with you…” This is the word we are to embrace in faith, and place all of our worries onto His strong shoulders: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).