[Adapted from a blog I wrote here.]
Thus says the Lord: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God…” Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters. — Isaiah 43:1-2, 16
“Fear not” is the most frequent command of God found in His Word. “Fear not” – over 200 times. It’s not that hard to understand how it is He calls us not to fear but to trust Him in our circumstances.
There are times we just can’t see above the waves of our life…maybe it’s not our own storm but the storm others we love are passing through. The critical need to make a decision. The (re-)entrusting of work into the hands of God…or the hands of another. The walking into a future that’s shrouded from our sight… It always has been an unknown, but it seems more so today.
The truest reality is that there is still nothing to fear, really. God is with us. He went before us, preparing for where we are today. He will prepare for our tomorrows. He calls us to keep our eyes on Him.
My husband and his work team are going through such a glorious season (if I may call it that). There is nowhere to look but to Jesus.
It is such a season where God’s call to not fear and have faith stills our heart and steadies our resolve like no other time.
Dave wrote his team this email recently:
“I keep thinking of the account in Matthew 14 of Peter walking to Jesus on the water. It is pretty amazing that Peter got out of the boat and walked to Jesus. He actually got all the way across the water to Jesus. As he was walking on water in the midst of that storm Peter must have been intensely focused on Jesus. When he got to Jesus, it seems that he momentarily lost focus, turned and looked at everything around him. At that point, his fear overwhelmed him and he began to sink. As Peter cried out for help, ‘Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him.’ When Peter’s faith failed, Jesus grabbed him and pulled him back. In recent days, I have been thinking a lot about that story. Like Peter, when I am looking at Jesus, I’m good to go. When I look at what is around me, I become afraid and distracted. When I call out to Jesus, He rescues me. So the stresses and challenges make me recognize my dependence on the Lord and push me closer to Him. For that I can be grateful. Let’s keep encouraging each other to run well (Hebrews 12:1-2). I thank God for all of you and for the privilege of running with such great brothers and sisters.”
I was also reminded recently of the Apostle Paul’s letter to his “son” Timothy where he encouraged him to be confident in this:
“It is He who saved us and chose us for His holy work not because we deserved it but because that was His plan long before the world began — to show his love and kindness to us through Christ.” – 2 Timothy 1:9
We are in a time of making hard work decisions. In an organizational downsizing, some will be retiring soon. Many leave a work they love and face a very different future – both which they will entrust to the God who will show Himself trustworthy. For those staying on the job, these may also see their work change. The phrase, “there will be lots of holes to plug” is something meant to comfort those remaining. It’s more how does anyone “fill the shoes” of those leaving? Those seasoned, revered “old” ones…
Tempted to fear…No, fear not.
I love words…and was delighted when my friend, Alicia, gave me a piece of art she made just for me. It is a line from the song Oceans sung by Kari Jobe. I didn’t know that song until we, together with other close friends, attended a night of worship featuring Jobe.
“When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace.”
Lord, give us ears to hear You even amidst rolling waves and raging seas. Fill us with Your faithfulness.
Worship with me:
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13
YouTube Video with Lyrics – Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong United – with Lyrics – with powerpoint of ocean waves