Have you ever had a great spiritual truth whack you across the face…like while you’re reading your kids’ books or watching their shows?
That happened to me a few times this week as I was reading the kids their stories from the children’s Bible, and doing our Bible story on the YouVersion Bible app.
And then in one of my own devotions, the following verses came up as well and made me think some more :
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze – Isaiah 43:2
No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord. – Isaiah 54:17
And you know what hit me? We don’t see illustrated pages in our kids books about David kicked back in a lay-z-boy relaxing the night away. Or Daniel minding his own business on a tropical beach for vacation. We don’t see Moses curled up with a good book in the palace in Egypt. We see cartoon lions, and seas, and giants, and great big fish and huge, scary events played out in primary colors.
What we see is that God never says that a life following Him will be easy and carefree and free of trials and issues. In fact, He says that a life following Him will be fraught with trials and hardships. We are doing battle daily in a fallen world; the struggles WILL come. A devoted Christian life doesn’t go by in a rosy glow of perfection, it comes with real issues and hardships.
But what God promises is that He will be there with you, in the midst of them. You HAVE to go through your difficulty – you aren’t exempt because you follow Jesus, but you have a promise from Him that He will walk through it with you and that it will not overcome you if you believe in Him and His ultimate power over all.
So if your bank account is at zero, work to fix the problem, but He is there. If your marriage is on the rocks, give it over to Him through prayer and keep walking through it, He is with you. If you are being beaten down by disease – pray for healing, do what needs to be done, and know that He is there with you. If you are unsure of your path, just know that He is there with you; keep seeking Him and take the next step. Just as He was with David in the impossible situation of the giant looming in front of him and his stones. Just as He was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego inside the fiery furnace. Just as He was with Jonah sloshing around in the belly of the fish. Just as He was with Moses in the middle of the Red Sea as fish swam above his head and great winds blew. Just as He was with Abraham and Sarah at the end of a long life of infertility. Just as He was with Ruth as she lost her husband and her protector and was at the mercy of strangers in a foreign land.
Be encouraged as you notice that God was in the midst of all of those things – He didn’t cause them to not happen, but He was in the middle of them with those people. Their faith was strengthened, their character was built, and God was glorified in the struggle, the fire, and the trial. He won’t cause you to avoid the struggles either, but He will be with you in them and be glorified through them if you have the faith to trust that He is there and HE is more powerful than your circumstances. – He works all things for good (Romans 8:28).
Pray, believe, seek Him, and He will make your path straight – not paved in gold and skirting around all the disasters, just straight to His glory, and wide enough for two as He walks beside you.