Reflecting on fear and trust!
Isaiah chapter 41 verses 10 and 13 in the New Living Translation say
Verse 10: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
And verse 13 says “For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you”
In the midst of this pandemic they seem as relevant and reassuring as they were when they were spoken by the prophet Isaiah to the Israelites many centuries ago. They are the reassurance that God is with us despite the uncertainties of life. One way to envisage it, is the Lord walking with us. In the same way a child may hold a parent’s hand and trust they will be safe wherever they travel with them, so we too can have that same reassurance that God is with us. Abraham knew this too even though whilst journeying to a new land – even though he had no idea where he was going!
So the Isaiah verses echo a Biblical theme which runs through out both the Old & New testament. At a later Biblical time than Abraham when Joshua was about to lead the Israelites into the promised land, (the same land that God had promised Abraham), God tells him, “Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1 v9). This refrain is liberally scattered throughout the whole book of Joshua. So as Joshua steps out in faith and not only enters the promised land but under the Lord’s guidance and with Joshua’s leadership, the Israelites are able to take possession of the land. Both Abraham and Joshua show what God can accomplish when we trust Him. In the new testament Jesus promises to be with us through the power of the Holy Spirit. The very last words Jesus said to his disciples recorded in Matthew’s gospel (chapter 28 verse 20) are “And be sure of this. I am with you always, even to the end of the Age”
So these verses in Isaiah invite us to trust the Lord despite the circumstances, which is so easy to say and can be so hard to do!
In Hebrews 11 v 1 the writer says “Faith is being sure of what we hope for; and certain of what we do not see”.
We all have so many questions concerning this pandemic and there are no easy answers but I do believe that the Lord is calling us to trust him through it. In a recent blog J John wrote, “We often turn to God for answers but the fact is God wants to be known as our heavenly Father, not simply as the answer to everything that puzzles us. He is God not Google. Faith is trusting God when he speaks and when he doesn’t.”
The American song writer Lauren Daigle in her song ‘Trust in You’ speaks of trusting God not only when he parts the waters as he did for Moses and Joshua but also when he doesn’t even though she wants him to and that she will trust him even when he doesn’t give the answers she wants either! Can we relate to that song?
I do believe that God walks with us through every circumstance in our lives both the good and the difficult times.
There is a song by the Christian band called New Song entitled ‘The Same God’. This song reinforces the point how the same God who was with you in the good times is still with you now in the difficult times, the refrain which if we allow it can be a constant reassurance to us is “the same God who led you in will lead you out.” The reality is that often this may take some time but doing it with God is so much easier than trying to do it alone in our own strength!
The opening verses of chapter 43 of Isaiah sum it up in this way:
The Lord says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”
The challenge to us all is “Are we prepared to put our hand in Jesus’ and trust that he will bring us through this time?”