Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
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,
I have a lot of love for these verses from Isaiah 43. Whenever I hear it, I am drawn back to my days as a summer camp counselor in the mountains of Colorado. We used to sing a worship song that was based on this scripture, and even today it reminds me of the sweeping mountain views, the star filled nights, and all the wonderful relationships that were formed that summer.
Today, I am still drawn to these verses in times of suffering or when people have lost hope. I believe in a God who came to this earth to love – not to condemn. We have a God who promised never to abandon us in spite of the trials we may face or the road blocks we build for ourselves. We are loved, and I believe that God is constantly trying to help us to understand this message.
When I was a camp counselor, I felt like there was something powerful binding all of us together. We were all different, but we believed in each other. The Holy Spirit’s work was real and available for every one of us. Today, in a season of quarantine and national division, hope seems much further away. However, I believe God’s Word still stands. I believe God is still coming to this world with love and hope. God has not chosen to abandon us. So what if we started to open our eyes to the real presence of God.
Today I hope we can let go of the evil that divides us from our neighbors. Perhaps we can look inward and deal with our own hurts and pains to discover a deeper truth about ourselves. I hope we can all find a way to hear God’s Word and be witnesses to hope. Let’s stand for unity, grace, and forgiveness.