If you live long enough you are going to feel it. That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. Worry sets in. Uncertainty reigns. Before you know it, you are descending into full-fledged panic mode. Your heart races and your palms are sweaty. Your mind takes over and fills your head with a thousand “what-if” scenarios.
Eventually, you feel like you won’t be able to go on by yourself and you need someone, anyone to give you a hand to lift you up and pull you through…
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
My pastor was preaching this morning about not quitting in spite of the difficulties and discouragement that you may face in this life. Make no mistake, if you are living obediently, you will face troubles in your Christian walk. Jesus told us so. But he also said that he would be there with us. I loved the illustration that my pastor spoke this morning. He said that sometimes when he is on stage preaching (he’s been doing this thirty years) that he thinks of this verse in Isaiah and when he holds out his hand to the congregation, he is really visualizing Jesus holding onto his hand.
Pretty powerful imagery, don’t you think?
You see, we often forget that Jesus is right beside us. He is there to give us strength. Day in and day out. There is nothing that we go through alone, because he is there with us. Our friends and family may desert us, but He never will. He is always by our side.
Look at the verse again. Fear, dismay, weakness and faltering are the things that God will overcome for us. I don’t know about you, but I have known these four well over the course of my life. These are not adjectives that I want to describe me, but they come visit me when I focus on the circumstances of my life instead of the One who promised to walk beside me through the darkest valleys of life.
When I focus on the storms instead of the One who works all things together for good, fear, dismay, weakness, and faltering are my companions. They anchor me down during the storm.
When I, instead focus on the One who gathers every tear I cry in his hands, then this I know:
I AM is with me
I AM is my God
I AM strengthens and helps me
I AM will uphold me with his righteous right hand.
So in times of trouble, when my strength is small, this is where my focus turns. I look to my feeble, empty hand and I envision it clasped in the hands of the Carpenter. His hands are calloused and they have been pierced, but they are strong. They defeated death and they conquered sin. They hold onto me when I have no strength to carry on. They lift me up when I falter. They wipe away my tears in this life and they prepare a place for me in heaven.
That is my truth.
That is my hope.
That is His promise.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/16210667@N02/8755031604/”>CJS*64</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>