When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. Isaiah 43:2
I’m not sure why some of us were taught that a relationship with God would be some kind of token economy.
We were falsely taught:
- that if we give, we will be blessed
- that if we are righteous, all our prayers will be answered
- that if we DO all the right things, our kids will be safe, our lives rich, our husbands will be employed and coaching their best seasons
If I am assuming positive intent, I can reason out why that message might have been relayed to us. However, when we find ourselves in the deep end of the ocean of grief, worry, isolation, fear, or bitterness, of job loss, or political firestorm- it truly seems as though we were sold a bill of goods.
That’s not what God wants - for us to feel betrayed, unworthy, confused. That’s not what he wants at all. That’s not the message He intended to be taught.
I love what my Asbury pastor says, “If you live long enough, hardship will find you.” When it does, many of us discover exactly what faith is. It is a banquet of promises rather than a token economy of if-then statements. I love the goodness and mercy. Psalm 23 promises us, but the words of Isaiah 43 speak to the pain in my soul.
When you go through deep waters…
Not if… when. Without condition-
Scripture tells us we will go through hardship, and when we do-even though we may feel alone- we are not. And if you have enough breath to take a small but ever so magnificent phrase in - this there’s no condition to that—just a promise. I will be with you.
Life Will Ask Us to Wrestle
My son only wrestled one season; his daddy placed him in our youth league to strengthen him, create personal toughness, and that innate will to win - Mano-a-Mano. Consequently, I have this adorable picture of my sweet boy ready to grapple.
My man-child, now 23, learned those lessons, and he learned he didn’t like wrestling! Moreover, he learned the mental tenacity life would ask of him.
Life will ask us to wrestle - “wrassle” for those of us in the south. Like Jacob wrestled with the angel just outside of Canaan, we will grapple, and struggles will come.
We, like Jacob, may come away from our grappling match with a limp or a scar or two. Then again, we might also emerge with wisdom, with kind discernment, with a little extra grace for those souls in our path because God was with us; he is with us.
Immanuel - He is with us
He wants to be with us - anyway he can. I don’t believe he wants us to struggle - but like a good parent, he will allow us to struggle, I think, and then he relishes the time we spend wrestling with him - if that‘s even the only time he gets. He wants to be with us - He is Immanuel - that name actually means “God with us.”
He cries with us.
He bends down to hear our whispered prayers.
He assumes a wrestling stance with love in his arms, ready and willing to wrap us up and hold us for eternity. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. Isaiah 43:2
Readers Note: We all bring our different life experiences when we read any kind of literature - but especially Scripture; consequently, the body of the work will resonate uniquely with each of us. My goal is not to put the Holy Spirit in a box by saying or implying - "Here's what these words mean…." Instead, I hope you read each devotional knowing that God wants to speak to you too. Our experiences may be different, but we can all learn from each other's lives. God will meet you where you are, the same way he meets me if you ask him to.