Through the Waters
Isaiah 43:2-4 ESV
I don’t know about you, but I don’t look forward to difficult or trying times. It’s not that I don’t know that life is filled with pitfalls, I do…I just don’t look forward to them.
In Isaiah 43:2-4 God told the prophet, “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. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.”
If we were writing about similar thoughts related to God being with us, more than likely we would say, if you pass through deep waters, I will be with you.
What’s notable as this passage begins is that God said to the Prophet Isaiah, “when” you pass through. Not “if” but “when”.
Why is that important?
God is telling Isaiah and us that everyone at some time in their life will pass through the waters.
The promise God made to Isaiah is true for us as well.
When I was in Seminary we studied “hitting the wall” in more than one class. You need to know that I was 54 years old when I entered Seminary. I don’t know that I was the oldest student there, but I can tell you that most of my classmates were in their mid to late twenties.
Not only was it notable that I was 54 years old, I was a woman. I was what some would call a “woman of age”. I don’t take offense at that, but I think it’s a little humorous. I mean, my Mother is a woman of age. She is 94. All of my grandmothers lived well into their 90’s.
In my estimation of things, 54 was halfway.
When I first heard the term, ‘hitting the wall’ I wasn’t sure what it meant so before the next class, I did some research on it. According to what I read at the time a major life event that brings about change qualifies for “hitting the wall”.
Oh, I thought. If that is the definition, I hit my first wall when I was 34. Then I hit the wall again when I was 51. Hitting the wall a second time was possibly what catapulted me into Seminary. That year I had four major losses that were catastrophic.
I realized at the time that more than likely I was one of the few people in the classroom who knew what it was like to “hit the wall”. To put it bluntly, the second time it felt like I got hit with a semi-truck four times in the course of one year.
I got hit again and again and again and again. Understand that I’m not writing about “hitting the wall” to illicit sympathy. I’m writing about it to tell you that WHEN I hit the wall, God was there. Most of the people who had been an integral part of my life scattered, but God picked me up and literally carried me. God carried me through each gut wrenching trial that year. I don’t remember being devastated, but I was. What I remember is that with each hit, God had a plan.
Overnight the ministry I’d been part of for 30 years was gone…poof gone! With it I lost my church.
All of my friends outside of a few at work were gone…poof gone!
My new two story home we built a year before…poof gone!
My marriage of 31 years…poof gone!
Each one of those events qualified as a life changing event.
And God told the prophet Isaiah, “when you pass through, I will be with you.”
And God was. Those losses all happened months apart the same year. That was 18 years ago. As I write this and look back, I have trouble remembering how God got me through it. I was in shock and I don’t know how I got up each day and went to work. I do remember being grateful…ever so grateful for my job. I do remember wondering how I would survive financially right before I was given a promotion at work that made it so I could buy a small older condo.
I do remember the people who stood by me and supported me. There were only a few, but oh my how they helped me.
I remember a friend at work inviting me to go to church with her. It was a very large church and I only said yes because I’d never been without a church and since it was large I thought I could hide. They had a healing prayer service. I started going and I sat in the very back and cried the whole time, but I went because I knew God was there.
I bought my own place. I had my own car…both were really old but they were mine. Plus, my old car seldom had problems.
Each and every step of the way God comforted me. God spoke to me. God showed me the way. God healed me. And God called me to go to Seminary. I argued about it saying I was too old, but God persisted.
So, there I was sitting in class with young men and women (many were the same age as my children) talking about “hitting the wall”.
THAT was a subject I knew something about.
I also knew that when it happened God DID show up.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: God and You
When has God been there for you? Write about it, or draw a picture…do something that will remind you how God has been there for you WHEN you passed through the waters.
In God, Deborah