The Greek tragedian, Aeschylus, once said: “He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain, which cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” Sounds like Aeschylus read Isaiah 43.
God never promised that we would not have to pass through the waters or walk through the fires of this life. (Isaiah 43:1-7) In fact, he promised just the opposite; he promised that we would. But he did say that when the waters rise and the flames blaze, he would be with us. He promised that the waters would not sweep over us and that the flames would not set us ablaze because we are precious and honored in his sight and he loves us. Therefore, we do not have to live in fear. God is trustworthy. He is accomplishing something very good in us as a result of the waters and the flames; something that could be accomplished in no other way. We might not be able to see it right now, but one day all of our pain and all of our sorrow and all of our suffering and struggling will be redeemed. Thanks be to God!
Where are you passing through the waters or walking through the fires these days? Where is God in the midst of it all? Do you sense his presence? What do you think he’s up to?
Thank you, O Lord, that when we pass through the waters, you will be with us. Thank you that when we pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over us. Thank you that when we walk through the fire, we will not be burned; the flames will not set us ablaze, because you are with us. Give us the strength and the courage and the grace to believe that. Amen.