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passing through the fire

Photo by Connor Jalbert on Unsplash

Photo by Connor Jalbert on Unsplash

“Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” Isaiah 43:1

Fear not.

Thou art mine.

There is something incredibly comforting in those words. We don’t have to fear because we belong to Him.

The older I get, and the more life I experience, the more I appreciate the value of this constant truth. And never before have I leaned more deeply into God’s promise to be with me than when we stepped into this water-walking faith journey of the missionary call.

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”  Isaiah 43:2

In this life we will pass through rough waters and walk through the fire. Not one of us is guaranteed a trial-free life. We will pass through the fire. But…we will not be consumed.

Fear not.

When the water is heavy and our legs are weak from pushing our way upstream, remember that you belong to God, and the river will not overtake you.

When the intensity of the fire burns blue and white and the heat takes your breath away, remember, not one flame will flicker or dance its way onto your skin. We may smell the smoke, but it will not burn its way into our hearts.

We are not promised a fire-free life, and the waters will come raging in whether we like it or not, but we are guaranteed that we will not be abandoned in the heat or lost in the ocean. God will be there. God knows who we are and where we are. He sees each one of us.

And he says, “Fear not.”

Faith steps are never easy, but they are possible when we keep in mind the One who called us into the journey. Our hearts and minds, our bodies and souls, will weather the ups and downs of the uncertain and overwhelming when we consider the walk that Jesus took to bring us our redemption. He calls us by name.

The river, while it may rush towards us and threaten to swell over us, is held back by the same voice that comforts us to, “Fear not.”

The fire, raging and dancing and sparking in circles all around our dry and weary souls, is controlled by the same One who protected the bush from being consumed in the desert.

And sometimes we feel Him close and around us, and sometimes we simply must trust his voice, his word and his promise.

Fear not.

Thou art mine.

Let us not forget, we are only passing through the fire. We are not here to build our homes and hammer in the stake of an in-the-fire identity. No. The step of faith, and the walking by faith in the direction that God has laid out, are the actions that follow an identity rooted in Christ. The journey is not the destination. And waters that try to knock us off balance and tow us out to sea are not where this journey ends. The fire is not the destination either.

We are on a journey home. God takes us on the path he has marked out for us, and we – who long to dwell in intimacy with him – will follow where he leads. The journey will bring the water and the fire. There is no shortcut. This is the way home. But we do not need to be afraid. He walks before us, beside us and behind us.

We are just passing through the fire on our way home.

And we have no need to fear.

“God, who created and formed us, says to us, ‘Fear not,’ and a secret whisper is heard in the heart by which the heart is so comforted that fear is driven away.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

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