My phone dinged with its usual friendly alert notifying me that I have a message. I unlocked the screen to see a group message alert. Another request from a sweet friend for prayer. Once again the cancer has returned, surgery is necessary… please pray. Add this new message to the long list of needs that line my prayer journal.
Heart needs, medical needs, financial needs, relationship needs…
Suffering is universal.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 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 43:1-2.
I love these verses, and I am troubled by them all at the same time. I love the promise that God will always carry us through the trials of our life. Yet, I have to confess I wish they said, “You will not have to pass through the waters because I am with you; and you will not have to pass through the rivers; and you will not have to walk through the fire.” This would make me feel so much better. However, this is not what these verses say. They state that when we walk through the fire, we will not get burned.
Walking with God doesn’t mean we get to avoid the battle or that we will never experience the storm. Jesus said “in this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
Trouble in this world is a guarantee. It is a promise.
We cannot be surprised by the fact that trouble happens. He warned us that it would. He never said that we would be exempt from it, yet I think we often times expect to be. We expect to be spared the heartache and the pain. Only the promise was when we walk through the fire, He will be with us. He will guard us and protect us. We will not be consumed or destroyed by the situation. We will have to walk through the fire, but we will not be burned. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not get to avoid the furnace. They were delivered through the fire; they were not rescued from the fire. Daniel 3.
Even though the storms will come we do not have to be fearless to be considered faithful. Aren’t you glad, friends! We do not have to face the storm without fear. We do not have to walk through the fire without fear breathing down our necks. Faith means acting in spite of our fear.
Faith does not mean fearless. It does, however mean courageous.
Having courage means we act in spite of being scared to death. It means facing the battle and trusting God to fight for us and moving towards the fight, when we really want to run the other way. God called Gideon a mighty warrior, in spite of the fact, that when God approached him he was threshing wheat in a wine press because he was scared to death of his enemies, the Midianites. Gideon was hardly showing the fearless characteristics of a mighty warrior. Judges 6:11-12.
Obedience performed with shaky knees and sweaty palms is still obedience, and God is pleased. God called Gideon a mighty warrior long before he lived up to the title. God sees us as the mighty warriors He has destined us to be, even with our wobbly voice and sweaty brow.
Listen to Focused Faith with Carrie Powers weekdays at 9:30 on KKXX Life Radio.