God's Word Provides What We Need When We're Up Against Hard Times
This week as I searched for a focus verse, my heart was set on words that reminded me that God is my help. You see, for me, the week ahead is littered with some hard things, things I know I can’t do on my own. I scrolled through a list of verses that came as a result of my Google search on the topic when Isaiah 41:10 caught my eye. The words seemed to be the exact reminder I would need to get me through my week.
But, I don’t like to cherry-pick verses from the Bible—to choose God’s words and simplify them to a quote or cliche phrase that happens to fit into my own circumstances. I fear that I’ll get it wrong, that I’ll add meaning that wasn’t there, or that I’ll miss something important. I am not a Bible scholar and I have not been to seminary, but I do believe everyday people like you and me can read God’s word and be led by the Holy Spirit to understand it and apply it to our own lives.
In an effort to see individual verses as a piece of God’s bigger picture, I make it a point to read the passage surrounding the verse I’ve found, to consult the notes in my study Bible, or to read the introduction to that book of the Bible to gain a better understanding of the background.
The outline in my study Bible shows that these words from the prophet Isaiah follow chapters and chapters pointing out the rebellious nature of Israel, warning of their impending judgment, and even prophesying about future captivity. To put it simply, their future was littered with hard things. But Isaiah does not leave them in hopelessness. The final portion of this book and his prophecy tells of the salvation to come.
That’s where we find these words. And I think we’ll also find that we aren’t that much unlike the nation of Israel. That we too have rebellious hearts and deserve judgment. We too know there are hard things ahead. But God does not leave us hopeless.
The words of Isaiah can speak to each of us centuries later, living in the same fallen world as the Israelites. I believe they were meant for us just as much as they were meant for the people Isaiah spoke directly to.
Friends, I don’t know what you’re up against this week, but I do know that our God doesn’t want us to fear or be dismayed (other translations use the words intimidated, distressed, or overwhelmed). I do know He will be with you and me in every moment of the week ahead. And I know that He is our God, and He will help us, strengthen us, and uphold us.
So will you join me this week in focusing on and repeating these words—believing that God will work through them and us, providing exactly what we need in the moments we need it?