Isaiah 35:4-7a - 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." Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water.
Anxiety hurts. It keeps us up at night, thinking about what the day may bring. It stops us from doing things we know are good and necessary, because we just can't get past the worrying. After this pandemic, most of us know anxiety very, very well.
There must have been a lot of anxiety in Judea and Galilee in Jesus' day. There they were, a conquered people—powerless, not particularly rich or influential, living under a series of bad rulers, constantly at risk for war. It had been roughly 400 years since the last of the Old Testament prophets spoke God's Word to them. There must have been people wondering: Has God forsaken us? Has He disappeared, or has He given up on us? Will He ever help us again?
To these people, the Holy Spirit says, "Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you." And God goes on to describe the very unexpected things He will do—miracles of healing, water in the desert, a world full of blessing. All of them fulfilled, at that darkest time in history, when God Himself was born into the world as our Savior, Jesus Christ.
So what is God's answer to our anxiety today? It is the same answer He gave to His people 2,000 years ago. It is Jesus—the God who cares so much for us that He was born into this troubled world, and lived its dangers and suffering with us. The God who recognized that we were trapped under the power of sin, death, and the devil—and chose to set us free at the cost of His own life. The God who rose from the dead, never to die again, to prove to us that nothing is strong enough to snatch us out of the Father's hands—and that we will live in Him forever. He is our strength and our comfort forever and ever.
THE PRAYER: Lord Holy Spirit, help me to trust in You when I am anxious and afraid. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. What kinds of things make you anxious?
2. What do you do when you feel anxious?
3. How do you find help and strength in the Lord at those times?
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