1 But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 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.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my sight,
and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not fear, for I am with you.
-Isaiah 43:1-5, NRSV
About a week ago, versions of the meme circulated widely on social media. With some variation, it read:
“I have completed my 7-day free trial of 2021,
and would like to cancel my subscription.”
Now we’re two weeks into 2021 — a 14-day free trial, if you will. We may still wish to cancel the subscription. We may still long to send 2021 packing, right along with 2020. Yet in our best and clearest moments, we recognize that a mere change of calendar year cannot guarantee a reality free from difficulty, stress, loss, tragedy, or pain.
As Christian people, we also recognize that faith in God cannot guarantee a reality free from difficulty, stress, loss, tragedy, or pain, either. Indeed, God does not promise to shield us from life’s challenges — not even the considerable challenges of 2020 and 2021. God does not promise to shield us from life’s challenges; rather, God promises to be present with us in the midst of those challenges.
Do not fear, we read in the words of the prophet Isaiah, for I have redeemed you. I will be with you. I love you. I am with you. It’s the refrain of this passage from Isaiah, the refrain of the whole of scripture, the refrain of our lives of faith. Do not fear — I am with you.
No matter what the remaining fifty weeks of 2021 may hold in store for us, we can hold fast to that truth. God is with us, friends.
… and remember:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
Want to know more?
- Learn about our church and its ministries: https://wesleychurch.com/
- Make a gift to support our mission: https://wesleychurch.com/giving-2/
- View our recent messages: https://wesleychurch.com/sermon-message-on-video/
- View previous devotionals: https://wesleychurch.com/pastor-candys-devotionals-2/