Imagine hiking in the woods with your five-year-old daughter (or niece). You come to a small creek; while you could just walk across, you don’t want to spend the rest of the hike with wet feet. Fortunately there is a large log that has fallen across the creek, creating a footbridge. The log is only a few feet above the creek, and the diameter of the log is large enough that there is plenty of room to walk. And so, you step on top of the log and prepare to walk across to the other side. You are confident it is totally safe; but as you reach down to grab your daughter’s hand, you see her face. She looks terrified! As you pull her up onto the log, she says, “I can’t do it! I’m too scared!” How do you reassure her? Do you explain that the long is sturdy, that the water is not deep, that there is no real danger? Maybe. But what really calms her down and reassures her that this twenty foot journey is nothing to fear is when you say, “Hey, I’m right here; it’s going to be OK. I’ll hold your hand the whole way. I’m not going to leave you. I love you. You are mine. I’ve got you.”
This is what our Heavenly Father does for us. Life is full of painful seasons, unexpected hardships, and perilous journeys. Some things in life really are threats to our physical and spiritual wellbeing. When you face a serious danger in life, fear is a legitimate response. But rather than live in fear, worry, or stress – look to your Heavenly Father for comfort and reassurance.
In Isaiah 43:1-7, we hear the words our God spoke through the prophet Isaiah before the time of Christ. He spoke these words to his people Israel, prophesying about their future time of exile from the Promised Land, and all the hardships they would face. And like a kind, wise Father, he comforts and reassures them. And now, through our faith in Israel’s Messiah, these promises are true for us as well.
But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”
God created you – he formed you and he knows you. Your Savior has redeemed you from sin, death, and the devil; fear not! He called you by name to come to himself. He’s got you. He now says to you, “You are mine.” You belong to him.
“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.”
Every moment of this life, you live right alongside your Creator and Savior. And yet, there will still be trouble: sickness, broken relationships, the death of loved ones, financial hardships, struggles against sin, the pressure of the world, the attacks of the enemy. But, when you have to pass through a raging river, God will be with you. Those waters will not overwhelm you. Even if you have to walk through fire, you will not be burned. Temporary pain may still come, but your eternal fate is secure.
“For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.”
Why can you have this confidence? Because the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, is your Savior! He looked at the foreign nations that surrounded his people Israel – Egypt, Cush, Seba – and he would not hesitate to give them all up as a ransom in exchange for the lives of his chosen people. And now you and I are God’s chosen people, a holy nation (1 Pt. 2:9-10). And for us God ransomed his own Son! He exchanged the life of Christ for you. Why? Because you are precious in his eyes. You are his honored son or daughter. Your Creator and Savior says, “I love you.”
“Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
And so, grounded in your identity as God’s child, be reassured that he will never leave you. Be comforted by his words, “You are mine. I love you.” – you have nothing to fear. God’s plan and purpose is to gather every child who belongs to him back to himself. His Spirit goes out to the east and west and north and south to gather each of his sons and daughters. Everyone called by his name, everyone he formed and created for his glory, is safe with him. If your faith is in Christ, that is you.
Whatever you face in this life, walk secure in your Father’s love, your Savior’s redemption, and your Holy Spirit’s presence. God says, “You are mine.”