Short daily devotionals for the socially distanced. These are thoughts from my daily time in the word. I use a bible reading plan that will have me in a different section of Scripture every day.
I hope they serve to give you courage and hope. You can subscribe to receive them as a daily email at the bottom of the page.
Thursday, April 30th
Reading: Isaiah 43-45
I like comfort. I am built for it. My frame and my disposition seem custom designed to flat roads and smooth seas. I prefer my life in seasons of ease over seasons of trial. It is part of why I have never been a really good athlete (although there are multitude of contributing factors here,) as training requires deliberate subjection to discomfort and pain. When I get to the point of even moderate pain, my strong brain signal says, “You don’t like this, and you do know that you technically don’t have to do this, don’t you? Don’t you feel like ice-cream instead?” I do, I do feel like ice-cream. Thank you comfortable brain. You always look out for me.
The danger of building a life on the pursuit of comfort, though, is that it can mean that you don’t know how to endure adversity. I see it in my life, and I see so much of it in Evangelical thought, so much so, that many have designed entire theologies suggesting that God doesn’t want us to have to endure adversity at all.
In God’s Kingdom apparently, it is ice-cream, and flat roads, all the time.
Until it isn’t.
Until pandemics, and recessions, and suffering, and strife.
Well, truth be told, I have found myself in parts of this season just wishing that it will be over soon, rather than figuring out how to press in, in faith, in the midst of it. I have said it, and heard it said quite a lot over the last couple of weeks,
“Oh, as soon as this is over.”
“I just can’t wait for this to just be over.”
“Let’s just get back to normal.”
In Isaiah 43, God, through his prophet, encourages His people and issues them a warning. The encouragement is that He will be with them, the warning is that their season of trial is not over.
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
— Is 43:1–3 (ESV)
You see the encouragement as well as the warning?
I have redeemed you, called you, you are mine, I will not leave you, so don’t be afraid.
You are going to pass through waters, some of them deep, and you are going to walk through fires, some of them really hot.
I am your God.
The hope then is not in a season of smooth waters, and subdued fires, but rather the hope is in the presence and goodness of a covenant God, regardless of what you might have to pass through. Today, I am choosing to not set my courage on a particular outcome that focuses on my own comfort, but rather I am drawing courage from the presence of a faithful God, regardless of what comes next.
Courage, dear friends.