9/2/2020 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
I think I must have been in the eighth grade. I am not sure what my parents were thinking, but they went out one evening with friends and left me at home to watch my younger brother and sister.
I don’t remember all that happened that evening, but I do remember this. We had 2 fireplaces in our home, one upstairs and one downstairs. I don’t ever remember using the one upstairs and the one downstairs was never used for heat, only for ambiance. Well as the babysitter I knew that part of my responsibility was to entertain those that were being “babysitted.”
So I decided to start a fire in the downstairs fireplace. Now as an eighth grader, ambiance really didn’t do much for me, but fire… that was something altogether different! So I started the fire and became bored very quickly. So I thought I would enhance the fire by adding a hassock. In case you are not old enough to know what a hassock is, it is a huge footstool that is stuffed with straw. If you are not aware of what happens to straw when it is set on fire, it burns really good!
I probably should mention at this time that we had glass doors on our fireplace. So I opened the doors, and literally have to stuff the hassock in, in order to close the doors, so the smoke would stop filling the room.
I was pretty proud of the fire I had made, until the fire got hotter, the bricks began turning red, and the glass exploded. Shattered glass went all over the living room, the flames refused to go up the chimney and came roaring out into the room. Needless to say I was not real excited for my parents to return home that evening.
I say all that, to say that this is what came to my mind this morning as I read this verse during my quiet time with God…
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.Isaiah 43:2
As we are seeing all around us and as we have experienced ourselves, life can be tough at times. There are times when we feel overwhelmed as though underwater. There are situations when we can really feel the heat of the moment, or the heat of a decision we have made or someone made for us.
God has not promised that we will not feel overwhelmed, or that we will not feel the heat of different situations. God never said that He would keep us out of hardships or keep difficult events out of our life. But God has promised to be with us so that the problems of life do not have to overwhelm us.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” Remember that time when the Egyptians were chasing the Israelites to capture them with the intent of returning them back to slavery? What happened?
God opened the Red Sea for them so that they could safely pass through, yet for the enemy, the Egyptians, God closed the walls of water and they were destroyed.
Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? They refused to worship the king, so because of their refusal, Nebuchadnezzar was furious with rage and had them thrown into a fiery furnace. A furnace by the way that was so hot, that the soldiers that put them into the furnace were killed because of the heat. Yet these 3 boys lived out God’s promise… “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
I have no idea what difficulty God has allowed into your life, but remember, when you feel overwhelmed God is with you. When your life is crumbling around you like a burning home, remember God is with you. Like He was with the Israelites, like He was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, He will be with you. He has to be, because He promised He would… “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,”
God’s promises are not just words written on paper, God’s promises are backed by the character of God, a God that cannot lie…
Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.Hebrews 6:17-18
I look back at my “burning hassock” story and smile, although my parents did anything but smile that night when they came home. I have since experienced much more heat, and there have been times that I have felt overwhelmed, but God has never left me alone, and He will never leave you alone either. Because He has promised and God cannot lie!!
May this song be a reminder to all of us of God’s faithfulness and be encouragement to those that need it today…