Once again the news announces another attack. This time, more than 80 people killed as a lone truck driver plows through families celebrating Bastille Day in France. Fifty children are hospitalized. Even for someone with great faith, the question of God’s presence can surface. Where is God in all this?
But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1 ESV)
In this one sentence, we discover two powerful reasons God is concerned about those who are his: he created them and he redeemed them. You are God’s masterpiece, the climax of his creation. God breathed the breath of life into Adam and he became a living being. “And God saw that it was good.” God also redeemed you. To redeem is to buy or pay off, to clear by payment. God bought Israel back…many times. Their most powerful redeeming moment was the Red Sea rescue. With Pharaoh’s army closing in, God parted the Red Sea and more than a million Israelites left 400 years of slavery in their rearview mirror.
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. (Isaiah 43:2 ESV)
Notice the tiny word that begins God’s next statement: when, not if. God’s created and redeemed people will pass through deep waters. They will ford raging rivers. They will walk through fiery places. Don’t miss God’s promise: I will be with you. God’s people are not exempt from trials–they are exempt from abandonment. I will be with you. God’s people are also safe from ultimate destruction. Though the water rises, the rivers rage and the fire threatens, they will not ultimately destroy. Why?
In the next five verses, God makes these statements:
For I am the Lord your God (vs. 3)
Because you are precious in my eyes (vs. 4)
Fear not, for I am with you (vs. 5)
I created you for my glory (vs. 7)
Let those sink in today. When you read the newspaper, watch the news, check your twitter feed, hear the insistent voice of your Redeemer.