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Sunday, 11 June 2017

Day 11: I Will Be With You

Art by www.wallandheart.com

I will be with you.
Isaiah 43:2 

What I absolutely love about these five words, is that the promise is made to people who are passing through waters and fires to the extent that being drowned or consumed seem a very real possibility.

This is a promise for turbulent times. 

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 

And when God says, "I will be with you", it's not him just saying, "FYI, I'm omnipresent". Not even in The Message version. 

Of course, it is always true that God is with us, but it seems to me God speaks the promise for when his people might be most tempted to believe it's not true. 

It's not (just) a theological statement; it's a personal assurance. 

I will be with you.
I will be near you.
I will be available to you. 
I will be your ally.
I will be your friend. 
I will be your help, your refuge, your shelter.
I will be for you.
I will be on your side. 

I am humbled by the power of this promise, especially when I think about what it means to Christian brothers and sisters across the globe. 

Across the globe, as I write this, there are believers who are awaiting trials for crimes they have not committed, there are families who, having turned to Christ, have been rejected by their neighbours and have stones thrown at them as they walk home from work; there are believers whose familiar hometowns and churches have been captured and are now occupied by ISIS, who witness executions weekly, there are believers who are refugees, without earthly belongings, without security, without a clear future.*

And to these believers, in these fires, these waters, the LORD says, "I will be with you." 

Not just "in theory", but by His Spirit. 

For believers who are surrounded by enemies who say, "you are alone, you are forsaken, you are forgotten, you are wretched"- in that moment, when circumstances seem to corroborate these accusations horribly- then, the LORD says, "fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine; I will be with you." 

There may be many waters. There may be fiery trials. But no breakers can wash away his steadfast love; no furnace can consume it. 

One day, this Love Unquenchable will bring us safe through Death, the most overwhelming of waters, and then, like before, but also like never before: "I will be with you." 

"What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?" 
Romans 8:31 

* Examples taken from the Open Doors website at time of writing. 

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