Hope, Healing, and Him
(Read Isaiah 41)
For many of us, we have a need for purpose in life. Believers want a reason for being as opposed to some random, chaotic life. We are hardwired or become hardwired to accept a creator of all things — a great designer. God has offered a solution, his perfect Son as a peace offering and a cure for mankind’s evil and sinfulness. Personally, I also feel a need for a savior to help me endure through the pain and brokenness in life. I need a greater power to go to for healing.
This month, we are going to focus on devotionals about healing. At different times in our lives, we are urging to be lifted up from physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. We can get relief from family, friends, professionals, and even the internet, but we can’t receive the same level of hope and promise that is extended by God.
“I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.”
Here in Isaiah, God was talking to his people in Israel. They were his servants, his people and yet time after time they abandoned him for their own idols. Does this sound familiar? We have a God who has created a planet full of everything we desire. After failing God repeatedly, we have a God who still loves us. God reminds us that he has called us. He’s telling us that he chose us and despite everything he has not rejected us.
Yet a true servant of God would never make God into his own image. A true servant of God would never fashion God into something for his own personal god. The statement, “I have chosen you and have not rejected you,” is a strong indicator of God’s awareness of our faults.
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.”
“Do not fear, for I am with you,” is both a command and a promise. Fear, worry, and anxiety are often sins. But God tells us that he is with us. There is a promise like no other. We fear not, because he told us, he is with us. What more do we need? “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us.” (Romans 8:31)
I had a long conversation this morning with a friend about the turbulence, anxiety, and uncertainty in our world. He was relaying stories of brash behavior on the roads, in public places, and with people in the workplace. I asked him, could you imagine living without God in your life? We talked about the temporary nature of nations and empires. We decided that the hope we have in God’s heavenly kingdom gives us happiness and relief despite all the garbage in our world.
Imagine the fear and discouragement people feel who are alone. Since God has declared he is with us, we will never be alone. It’s easy to focus on the daily details of life. I know several people who are suffering from serious illness, traumatic injury, despair, and financial hardship. We cannot know the pain that people see and feel. We can never put ourselves in others’ shoes. We can humbly point them to true hope.
“Be not dismayed, for I am your God.” God showed how easily we forget the greatness of God. We need to turn over the outcome of our problems to God. If we have big problems, we have a small God. If we have a big God, we have smaller problems.
“I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
God speaks with tenderness when he tells us to, “Fear not.” There are many references to what God HAS DONE in scripture. When God says, he WILL “strengthen and help” us, he is using a future declaration. He is reassuring us that he is with us now and forever. Others may choose to rely on idols, fear, and worry. God is affectionately reminding us that he can help.
Isaiah is a promise to the physical Israel and to the spiritual Israel. God does not want His people to fear, but to have faith in Him. God had warned Israel that they would face judgement for their idolatry. Isaiah is also a prophecy that God is always faithful to His promise and has promised redemption.
“I will strengthen you.” “I will help you.” “I will uphold you.” Pain and suffering can make us fragile. It can rip our character and quality from our lives. With God, nothing can take away our hope and we cannot live without hope.
“God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient. And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light.”
- Do you feel that you’re a servant or friend of God?
- Have you experienced bone-chilling fear or worry? Do you live with it or turn to something else for relief? Does the worry take away a sense of control?
- With everything on the line, who or what do you trust? Does the trust make you feel better? Does it give you hope?
- In Isaiah 41:8, God compares his people Israel to “Abraham my friend.” Are we servants or friends of God? We can be both. Live your life every day as an example, a servant of God. Show others who might not know you, that God is in you and that you serve him in every breath you take. When you pray, pray to God as a loving friend. Talk to God as you would a friend. Talk honestly, meaningfully, and regularly.
- Worry is dangerous and unhealthy. Chronic worry or stress has been proven to cause high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. Pick one thing you’re stressed about and give it all to God. Don’t leave some of it behind, surrender the entire problem to God. Read Isaiah 41. Pray a simple prayer for God over your worry. Trust God to strengthen you, help you, and uphold you.
- Live each day with your complete trust in God. Begin each day for one week with an affirmation that God is with you. Every time you’re feeling doubt, recall Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us.“
Where else in your life can you live out the teachings of Christ? Look for next week’s Devotion.