“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. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
~Isaiah 43:1b-3a

When I started looking at this verse, I thought I was going to break it down, clause by clause, highlighting the meaning of each phrase and apply it generally to our lives.  However, in the midst of it all, life happens, and God has other plans for me.  Isaiah 43: 1b-3a were our reflection verses for the online Bible study of Stressed-Less Living. It is a powerful set of verses that should give us confidence and help us have victory over fear.

The first part of the verse: “I have summoned you by name; you are mine…” reminds us that we are God’s chosen ones and He is calling us by name.  The next part highlights God’s protection of us through all types of trouble: “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.”  Notice it does not say you will not pass through the waters, or the rivers or the fire.  It says He will bring us through.  Finally, it reminds us who makes these promises: “For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

This is a very brief overview of this verse, and it does not even begin to do justice to the full depth of the verse, but I would actually like to apply this verse to current happenings in my life.  God has been whispering to me through difficulties, and perhaps this may speak to you too.

I work very hard to stay healthy.  I try to feed my family a healthy diet and we exercise frequently.  We are by no means perfect, but I am confident that I am setting up my family to understand how to take care of their bodies.  I feel motivated to do so.  I have seen many people I love suffer physically and mentally due to a combination of poor diet and exercise and difficult health issues.  I know I cannot prevent everything, and I have no expectations to have the “perfect” body.  I am honestly happy with the body God has blessed me with, even if I sometimes get an attitude about the “fairness” of the physical challenges I face.  I have fought and won the battle of the bulge many times, before children and subsequently after each child.  God has blessed me with loved ones to inspire me, challenge me and love me through the entire process.

After my youngest son was born in December of 2011, I actually had unprecedented success, which I largely attributed to understanding my body and having some grace through the whole process.  That is why this current trial derailed me temporarily.  Due to some unknown health issue, I have gained back a large chunk of the weight I had worked so hard to lose.  To make matters worse, I am experiencing pain, fatigue and a whole host of other symptoms that make me feel off.  I am fortunate that God had been whispering to me and putting the appropriate people in my path.  Because of this, I have been fairly calm and resolved about dealing with this unknown challenge.

Isaiah 43: 1b-3a reminded me to not be afraid in the midst of an uncertain future.  God is with me each step of the way and I am more aware of that than ever before.  I see Him in my life through timely conversations with friends, putting me in contact with the doctors who have the given skills to assess the situation and help me make plans going forward.  However, I do not think I would see Him in each incident if I was not spending time studying His Word and immersing myself in study.  I am more keenly aware of God’s nudging.

Perhaps you are reading this and think God will not speak to you because you are not spiritual enough.  Dear friend, nothing could be further from the truth.  I am not a Biblical scholar.  I am just a woman, due to amazing mentors, who has learned to take time to listen to our God.  I do not do anything earth shattering.  I read Scripture.  I memorize parts of Scripture.  I pray, a lot.  But most importantly, I surrender to God by listening and pausing frequently.  This seems difficult at times due to the busyness of raising children, taking care of a family and other obligations, but I have found that it is necessary to my mental sanity.

My next challenge is working on overcoming these symptoms and allowing my new normal settle in, no matter how temporary it may be.  This is not an easy thing for me.  I relish routine.  However, I know God is bringing me through this for a reason, and I am going to relax and allow it; not just for my sake, but for the sake of my children and husband.  How can I teach my children to conquer fear and be comfortable with all the changes in their life, if I am grumpy and irritable in the face of challenges?

Would you join me in prayer?  Join me as I pray for healing, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually.  Not just for me, but for all of us who face various challenges.  I pray that promises of Isaiah 43: 1b-3a; God is our protector and He will bring us through every challenge we face.  We know God may not answer our prayers how we expect, but He will answer our prayers when we pray in His name.

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