God placed a verse on my heart this week, that I have not been able to get off my mind. Although I don’t normally share in this format, I felt I just had to stop and share this teaching with you.
Over the past few days, I have really been reminded of how many people are facing some pretty major challenges. Medical, relational, financial or even vocational problems can come against us like a flood washing away our options, or a raging fire burning through everything we hold dear.
God never promised us a problem-free life. I here teaching sometimes that describes the Christian life like the opening scene of an old Disney film. The sun is shining, the bird are singing and little squirrels bring us the morning paper. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. The sun isn’t shining because dark clouds have gathered. Birds pooped all over our car. Those cute little squirrels eat through the cable and shorted out our Internet connection.
We live in a fallen world and sometimes bad things happen to good people. We get a report from our doctor about a recent test that “concerns” her and she wants to see us. Our car breaks down and there’ no money for repairs. We find an email on our spouse’s phone that reveals a hidden affair, or our company no longer needs our services.
I know some of you are going through some very difficult times.
Let me remind you today that God is not unaware of your situation. He knows and cares about what you are going through right now. If you are struggling with a major issue today, I want to encourage you with a simple promise from God’s word.
The promise is found in Isaiah 43, verse 2 and it says this,
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORDyour God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior
Isaiah 43:2-3 (NASB)
The first thing about this verse is the phrase “When you pass…” It doesn’t say if you pass through the waters, it says when you pass through the waters. All of us will face difficulties in our lives. Some we have created, some others have created, and others from living in a fallen world rushing for destruction. Ever since Adam and Eve were booted from the Garden of Eden, life has not been fair at times.
When you pass through the waters, refers to any type of problem or trouble. Take whatever you are facing, and insert it in this verse.
- When you pass through financial difficulty, I will be with you.
- When you pass through a job loss, I will be with you.
- When you pass through cancer, I will be with you.
- When you pass through a broken marriage or an unfaithful spouse, I will be with you.
The waters can also represent a dead end. Remember when the Children of God left Egypt? God freed them from slavery under Pharaoh and God led them right into a dead end. Imagine what the people felt like. Here they were celebrating their newfound freedom, they had just started their trek to the promised land and now they were trapped. The Egyptians behind them, and a river at flood stage before them. They couldn’t go right, couldn’t turn left and certainly couldn’t go up against Egyptian soldiers.
It seemed like there was no hope, no way to move forward. Yet God made a way through the very obstacle that blocked their way.
Have you ever felt that? Ever felt trapped with no way out? Ever felt like you couldn’t go forward, back up or move right or left?
Ever felt pressured from all sides, and you don’t know what to do?
Remember, Your God is with you. He will make a way when there seems to be no way.
When you think about waters overflowing you and being over your head, you can’t help but think about Peter. He jumped out of a perfectly safe boat to walk on the stormy water with Jesus. But when he took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink.
Ever felt like you stepped out, made the commitment and then felt the waters rising up around you?
Listen, even when we mess up and the waters are rising around us, Jesus is there to rescue us.
Aren’t you glad Jesus has more compassion than we do? If I was Jesus and I saw Peter sinking I would have told him, “tough luck, you took your eyes off me, tried to be a super disciple and now look at you. I hope you have a nice swim back to the boat.”
That’s now the way Jesus responded. He simply reached down and raised Peter up.
Isn’t it time some of you stopped beating yourself up for your failure and allow Jesus to pull up out of the water?
When you pass through the problems and you feel like you are going to drown, remember Jesus is there to rescue you. He is with you and brings you through.
One other thing about the water. Psalm 66:12 is a corresponding verse that gives us a glimpse of the end result.
We went through the fire and through the water, yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.
We will go through troubles, but God is taking us to a place of abundance. Those deep waters will be a path to a deeper abundance God has for us. The troubles you are experiencing now are the pathway to greater things God has for you.
But deep waters are not the only thing we are going to face. Sometimes we have to walk through the fire.
When a fire passes through an area, it brings about destruction and loss. Fire destroys everything it touches.
You may have been through the fire that destroyed everything you knew. It may have been a job that burned up right before your eyes or marriage or relationship that was destroyed. You look at it now and all you see are the ashes of what once was.
When you pass through the fire, know this – God is still with you.
When you think of fire you can’t help but remember those three young men in Daniel 3. They stood for what was right, refused to bow to an idol and found themselves facing a super-heated furnace.
God didn’t save them from the flame, but He did save them in the flame. Let me say that again. God didn’t save them from the flames, He saved them in the flames.
God doesn’t always save us from the flame, sometimes he saves us in the flame.
Often we pray for God to keep us from the flames, but His desire is to show Himself strong for us in the fire. As the guards tied their hands and shoved those young men toward that open flame, they must have thought, “Well, it was fun, but this is it. There is no hope now.” If God was going to save us, He would have done it by now.
Imagine what they thought as they saw the ropes burn off their hands, but didn’t feel the heat. Imagine how they felt standing in the fire, but not being burned.
What God did for those three fellows, He will do for you.
When you are in the flames and everything is being burned up, remember there is One who is with you and He will pass through the flames with you.
So, can we have confidence when we are neck deep in the water and the waves are crashing around us? Can we stand in faith when everything is burning up around us? Sure we can because we have the promise that God is with us. You have the promise that God is with you!
When the king looked into that furnace, he saw 4 men standing; the three young men and one was like the Son of God.
When I say God is with you, let me clarify something. God being with you isn’t just talking about His presence. As a believer, wherever you go, God’s presence goes with you because His presence is in you.
But also, God with you also means that God is on your side. Having God with you means that He is fighting the battles for you, and he is always working on your behalf.
God is working right now to bring you through the waters and through the fire.
No matter what you are going through right now, God is on your side. He is working for your good. He is your Savior, your Lord, and God.
Where are you today? Are you facing the overwhelming waters? God is making a way for you. Are you walking through the fire? He will keep the flames from touching you.
Have you messed up and you feel like you are in way over your head? Call out to Jesus and let Him lift you up.
Let me pray for you,
Father, I pray that you take this truth and move it deep into our hearts. I pray for that person who is going through the fire right now. Remind them that you are there in the flames and will keep them from being burned.
I pray for those who feel overwhelmed by the insurmountable problem they are facing. I pray that you remind them that you are the God who makes a way when there seems to be no way. Let them reach out to You as never before.
Thank You for being our God, our Savior and the one who is bringing us to an abundant end.
In Jesus Name, Amen