Last weekend, we hosted our first Awake and Alive ZOOM Small Group. In this time of isolating, it was good to get together with other young adults and spend some time in God's word reflecting on what it was saying to us, especially in these times. For the evening, we choose to read through Isaiah chapter 43 and just let God's word speak. The following words were the ones that probably registered the most.
“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. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;” - Isaiah 43:2-3a
So how has the Covid-19 rattled your expectations of the future? Is it more exciting or are you more fearful? Are you seeing God's fingerprints for good or is there a growing doubt that God can be trusted? These are good things to be honest with and to wrestle with in times like these. There are so many things being written in the Christian world that this blog will likely do little to add to the beautiful truths God is laying out as his word comes to life in new ways in the hearts of his people.
For some of us, this is new territory when it comes to trusting the faithfulness of God. For others, they have seen God at work through major events like wars, assassinations, recessions, terror, and prosperity. Wherever you are on the spectrum, it is good for us all to turn our attention and our hearts to what God is all about. Repentance, Forgiveness, Life that is eternal, where we become fully human and can stand in the presence of the God who made us, loves us, and claims us as his own.
As we kept reading, another area that jumped out was here:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 20 The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
God is doing something new (at least for many of us). He is and will show us that in the desert of our shattered hopes and distant dreams, he will provide. And he will provide for his people. And he will provide for his people he formed for himself. And he will provide for his people, whom he formed for himself - that they - WE may proclaim his praise!
AWESOME!! But then finish the chapter. It actually doesn't end well as most people simply don't or won't turn to him. Yet it finishes with the reminder that it is only God who saves us. We are not capable of receiving this great gift were it not for the faith given us by the Holy Spirit.
I encourage you to read it, pray through it, praise God for his goodness, repent for the times when we have to admit that we too often look to others to save, be it government, doctor, healthy decisions or... you name it So I finish today with a prayer for myself. Perhaps it is a prayer you have on your heart too.
Father forgive me when I arrogantly forget that you are the one who provides government, doctors, healthy options for my good. I have nothing that you haven't graciously given me. I believe your love for me. I believe what Jesus, your son, did for me. And I trust that in your forgiveness to me, you call me your child! Now Father, give me the eyes of faith to see the new things you are doing in my life, in my family, in my neighborhood, in my nation, and in my world. Help me to see your saving and give me a courageous voice to point others to the only one who saves. May this virus be a great working of your hand to save many from their sins to the sure hope of eternal life! Let it start with me Jesus and then use me to that end.