Isaiah 35:3-4 - (Isaiah said) "Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, 'Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.'"
Deliverance -- a life of freedom with one's deliverer. The prophet Isaiah is speaking about God's future deliverance to a people who are about to be run over by a warrior nation, carried off into captivity, and struggle. Isaiah tells them amidst these real fears, fear not. He tells them amidst their obvious weakness to be strong because God has not abandoned them. He will, in fact, still come for them to rescue them, to redeem them, and to set them free. With that in mind, he tells them to trust in God no matter what!
There are times in our lives when the fear is palpable, right? There are times when trust is hard to come by -- trust in ourselves, trust in others and, yes, trust in God. There are the fears of impending bills or illnesses or tragedy. We see violence around us and begin to fear for our safety or even our way of life. Be strong, fear not? That seems a bit like a pipe dream.
So when Isaiah talks about rescue, a way through, he must be talking about something or someone so amazing that such a thing can actually be true because of it. He does. He says it this way, "Behold, your God" in all things because He's coming He will change everything. His work on your behalf will make all the difference.
In 1989, an earthquake in Armenia needed only four minutes to flatten the nation and kill 30,000 people. Moments after that deadly tremor ceased, a father raced to an elementary school to save his son. When he arrived, he saw the building had been leveled. Looking at the mass of stones and rubble, he remembered a promise he had made to his child. He said this: "Son, no matter what happens I will always be there for you." Driven by his promise, he found the area closest to his son's room and he began to pull back the rocks.
Other parents arrived and began sobbing for their children. "It's too late," they told the man. "You know they are dead. You can't help." Even a police officer encouraged him to give up.
But the father refused. For eight hours, then 16 hours, then 32 hours, then 36 hours, he dug. His hands were raw. His energy gone, but he refused to quit. Finally, after 38 wrenching hours, he pulled back a boulder, and he heard his son's voice. He called his boy's name: "Arman! Arman!"
A voice answered him, "Daddy, it's me!" Then the boy added these priceless words: "I told the other kids not to worry. I told them if you were alive, you'd save me, and when you saved me, they'd be saved too, because you promised that 'No matter what, I'll always be there for you.'"
That little boy strengthened weak hands and he made firm feeble knees. Why? Well, he knew that his father loved him and would find a way to come to him. With that confidence, he encouraged the others because he knew his father would come for them too. Isaiah is comforting us with an even greater truth. Christ has come for all. Christ is alive here and now for you. Christ will bring you home to be with Him forever. He has made a way. He has made a path -- not for you to come to Him but for Him to come for you. Count on it.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, let my strength and fearlessness be rooted in Your promises to be with me, to guide me in Your Word, and to take me home to be with You no matter what I face today. Amen!
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries