Who are you listening to?
September 2016 copyright
Too many times in life, we listen to other people, popular opinion, the voice of fear, our own insecurities instead of listening to what God says. When we listen to anyone but God, we shoot ourselves in the foot. Isaiah 43:1 and 14 tells us of who we are to listen to. “But now, this is what the Lord says...” This is a powerful statement. In any situation or circumstances, we need to stop long enough to hear and investigate what God’s perspective is, what God says about our situation.
“But now, this is what the Lord says, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”(NIV) God reminds us in this passage that he knows everything about us and He knows our potential. He even knows our capability in our current circumstances. It is his way of saying to not give Him excuses for our fear. Then kindly, he commands us to not fear, reminding us that he has redeemed us.
Redeem means to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something. I feel the Lord is instructing us to not look at our ability or inability but to look to Him and His greatness. Even in our weaknesses, He has us covered. The Father goes on to say, “I have summoned you and called you by name, you are mine. Often times in life, we can feel insignificant and we must remember God Almighty has hand picked us and chosen us for a particular task and loves us enough to identify with us and call us part of his family. All of us have a need to belong, and He claims us.
This passage is rich and verse two of Isaiah 43 is packed with more promises for us from God. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” (NIV) All of us encounter difficult waters in life. Tough situations at work, illnesses, loss of someone we love, financial trouble, marital problems are just a few that come to mind. God is gently telling us difficulty is part of life here on earth and when it happens, He will walk beside us. As I read this passage, I reflected on a time recently I had been wading through water. As I stepped into the lake, the sediment swirled and I could not see very well. I continued walking in the unknown waters slowly, as we all do in life, and suddenly hit a spot that was slippery. I reached to grab my husband’s arm to steady me. Do you reach for God to steady you when you encounter the unknown waters of life? He is always there to hang on to.
There have been times in my life that I have felt like the river of life was rising around me and I might not make it. I thought I might drown. My mom was an very ill for nine years and I over saw her care. Balancing work, my family, her doctor visits, caregivers, medication, and the emotional loss was challenging. I became the parent and she became the child. Six years into her illness, my late husband developed cancer and passed away. I was struggling to overcome the heart ache of the loss, when my father became ill. In these days, I was not sure I would make it. Being the only sibling in town, put the major responsibility of both of them on my plate. All I could do was take one step at a time and hang on the fact that I was not alone, God was with me. He was faithful to sustain me, walk with me, help me, give me strength and comfort. It was a long and challenging season. Although it felt like the waters of life would sweep me away, God was greater than all my circumstances and those difficulties shaped me and forever changed me in a positive way.
When life gives you circumstances you do not want, what you do get is experience. And the experience of walking with God in unknown waters or rushing rivers makes you rich. Will you join me in listening to what God says instead of the negative voices around you?