Day 8: Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

God Restores Us and Protects Us with Important Purposes

“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.”

I overheard this Bible verse in my first year of college when I was seventeen years old. Two very concerned female students were discussing it and were frustrated that they did not know what it meant and had to discuss it for a class. They kept repeating the verse over and over. My heart was pounding inside of me while I stood at the other side of the library cubicle wanting to help them, but I never did. I was ashamed of being born and raised in church and was self-conscious.

The oracle that opens in Isaiah Chapter 43 foretells in its turn the redemption of Israel/Jacob by none other than God. Images from the time of Exodus appear: the water that does not submerge and the fire that does not consume (an echo of Isaiah 1:25 in which Yahweh announces purification through the crucible of adversity). The Lord does not wait for the people to change on their own; he freely transforms the deaf and blind people (Isaiah 42:18) in the nation that proclaims the Glory of God (Isaiah 43:7). The trust that God infuses to the people implies the certainty that nothing opposite to them may shake them as a nation; the strong waters, the turbulent river, the fire and the flame

symbolize Israel’s enemies. The New Testament retakes the certainty that no adversity may overtake the faithful of the Lord. What’s solid about these chosen ones is that God has called them by their name, and they are his personal property (Isaiah 43:1b), thus provided entity to proclaim God’s glory.

I believe God’s grace, redemption, and protection will be with me when I stand for the words of eternal life. I wasn’t courageous enough to stand up for the Gospel in my first year in college, but God has kept working in my life ever since. I believe during this Lenten season and all throughout the year God’s protection will be upon us when we preach, uttering words and testifying with our demeanor as well. I believe God’s protection will be with us when we obey his teachings and encounter turmoil along the way.

Can we trust and be at peace that God is our protector? Can we walk our journey as if we are under the protection of the Almighty? Are we aware that who calls us by our name expects us to contribute to His visible glory? Are we thankful that God provides us second and third chances; that He provides us new opportunities to make up for our shortcomings? With what purposes (or callings) has God redeemed and protected you? Do you consider them important?

 

Prayer:

God, you create, restore and protect us with the purpose of living lives worthy of repentance and worshiping you. May we be strengthened in our Christian faith when it’s time to learn the hard way and when we just don’t feel like standing up for what we are called to do. Help us, walk with us, protect us as you have promised. Allow us to comprehend there’s no need to rush or flee for you are all we need to smile through tough times and proclaim the good news of salvation where they are most needed. All of this we pray, in the name of Jesus, Amen.

 
 

Contributed by Gabriel Zepeda