When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. Isaiah 43:2
The rafting guide escorted our group to the river’s edge and directed us all to put on life jackets and grab paddles. As we climbed into the boat, he assigned us seats to balance the boat’s weight, providing stability when we encountered rapids. After highlighting the thrills the watery voyage ahead would hold for us, he detailed a series of directions we could expect to hear—and would need to follow—to effectively steer the boat through the white water. He assured us that even though there might be tense moments on the way, our journey would be both exciting and safe.
Sometimes life feels like a white-water rafting trip, one that contains more rapids than we might like. God’s promise to Israel, through the prophet Isaiah, can guide our feelings when we fear the worst is happening: “When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you” (Isaiah 43:2). The Israelites faced an overwhelming fear of rejection by God as they went into exile as a consequence of their sin. Yet instead, He affirms them and promises to be with them because He loves them (vv. 2, 4).
God won’t abandon us in the rough waters. We can trust Him to guide us through the rapids—our deepest fears and most painful troubles—because He also loves us and promises to be with us.
Thank You, Lord, for being my guide through troubled waters. Help me to trust You even when the journey is wild and scary.
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God steers us through difficult times.
In today’s passage, God declares, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2). In the New Testament, we see this promise of God’s care displayed in two stories of literal storms. In one, Jesus is sound asleep in a boat when awakened by His disciples who are frightened by a sudden storm. He calms the storm and the disciples’ fears (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25). In a similar story, the disciples are alone in a boat when a furious squall begins. Jesus walks out to them on the water (Matthew 14:22-33; John 6:16-21) and assures them, “It is I; don’t be afraid” (v. 20). The Lord “commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him” (Luke 8:25).