Isaiah 43:1b-3a - "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."
One of the hardest things to explain to a non-Christian, at least for me, is what we mean when we say that God saves us. I don't mean the whole business about Jesus dying for us so we can be forgiven and don't need to worry about going to hell. I mean the day-by-day, hour-by-hour experience of having Jesus as our Savior-of experiencing His help-of knowing Him as our Redeemer.
To non-Christians, this looks really weird. Here we are, asking for God's help, and yet as far as they can see, we all have the same terrible experiences they do. We lose people we love to death. We get heart disease or cancer. We lose jobs, have car accidents, suffer from mental illness. If God is our Savior, then what exactly is He saving us from? What kind of saving is He doing?
We can hardly blame them for asking.
The prophet Isaiah gives words to what we know as Christians, even if we can't express it. God says through Isaiah, "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."
Notice what God doesn't say. He doesn't say, "When you pass through the waters, I will roll them back on either side so that when you can go through them you won't even get wet." God did this for the people of Israel when they were escaping the Egyptians, but He never promised to do it for us. Again, notice how He says, "When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned." He never says, "I will cause the fire to go out-pffft!-before you ever set foot in it."
No, God never promises to prevent us from having terrible experiences. He does promise to save us through them-to prevent them from destroying us. And He promises that we will not be alone. He will be with us, right through the whole thing.
That may not sound like much to a non-Christian. But to a believer, it means everything. We are not alone; God has not abandoned us. We don't have to do it on our own. Even when we must face death, we do it with God at our side, with Jesus leading the way. After all, He is the One who went through suffering and death ahead of us-and came out the other side. He knows the way, and when we are with Him, we do not need to be afraid.
What better hands could we be in?
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, when I must suffer, help me to trust that You are with me and that You will keep me. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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