“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” (Isaiah 43:2 ESV).
With the threat of losing their jobs Lucy and Ethel quickly become overwhelmed as the conveyor moves faster and faster. Lately this scene reminds me of my life. When life hands us a difficulty or two it may be arduous, but it’s not unmanageable. When it kicks it into high gear, however, life becomes increasingly turbulent.
In those times it can feel as though there is no way out, like being stuck in the bottom of an hourglass as the sand pours down upon you. At first there’s plenty of room to move around. You can keep up with the influx of sand by kicking it away from the center and leveling it out. But when the sand get’s deeper it becomes more challenging to move. You find yourself sinking with little hope of keeping your head above the deluge.
This is where most bloggers would submit a list of The Top 7 Ways to End All of Your Problems. I’m not most bloggers. It’s also where a certain type of preacher would tell you that if you have enough faith you won’t have to go through difficulties. I’m not that type of preacher.
I don’t really believe that there are easy answers to most of life’s difficulties. But I do believe that we don’t have to go through them alone.
Our verse begins with the words, “When you pass through”. I believe that every word of scripture is important. And while I don’t pretend to understand the importance of every word of scripture, I can certainly get the easy ones!
“When”. The verse says, “when”. It doesn’t say “if”! It’s important for us to realize that everyone finds themselves in these situations at some time, or several times, in their lives. The next word, “you”, reiterates that you are not exempt.
“…pass through”. These two words are inspirational. It provides us with a light at the end of the tunnel. While we cannot always see it for the depth of darkness, we are destined to pass through! We are not sentenced to remain in the darkness forever.
“…I will be with you”. We have an assurance from God that He will be our constant companion as we traverse the depths of our distress. There is no one I’d rather have by my side.
“…they shall not overwhelm you”. God will keep your feet under you and your head above water. When you think you’ve had all that you can take, when every step seems unsteady, when you think you are going to fall, you have a promise that you will never be swept away from God’s side.
Not only will the waters not overwhelm you, but God has promised to be with you in the fires as well. “…you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you”.
I’ve often heard people repeat the phrase, “This too shall pass.” Or similarly, “It came to pass, not to stay.” There is truth in those statements, although they are not scripture. I’ve come to prefer, “When you pass through….” It serves as a great reminder that we will successfully arrive at the other side of the turbulent waters; we will step out of the fiery furnace.