Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
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.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
(Isaiah 43:1-3, ESV)
While on a business trip and staying with friends, I've taken the opportunity a couple of times to walk on the "rail-to-trail" park that runs right by their house. On one trip I had my MP3 player going and was listening to Isaiah being read. The first track happened to be Isaiah 43 and it put a smile on my face to here the words I posted above. The very thought of being redeemed, rescued, and protected is just so awe inspiring I knew I had to write about it. And then I checked the time as I made my turn.
I use my phone and, hitting the display button, I saw I had missed a call. It was from my wife and I quickly began to return it. While it was ringing, the tone went off to let me know I had a voice mail ... which is not at all like my wife. As she answered, my curiosity was at a bit of a peak and I soon found out what prompted her to leave a message.
My wife and girls (and the two dogs) were in the process of huddling in a closet to wait out a tornado warning. Given what we could find out, a funnel cloud had touched down just a couple miles from our house. It appeared to be headed away, but caution dictated they play it safe. We hung up for the moment, her in our house under a tornado watch and me 800+ miles away feeling helpless.
It turned out just fine (we didn't even lose power though it was out down the road from us closer to where the action was). But I still had a bit of a helpless feeling inside. What possibly could I have done even if the tornado was in my neighborhood or on my street? Just how much was I willing to place my faith in the God who says he will keep me from harm and redeem me? Thing happen every day where people are not "kept from harm" at least from the human perspective. Was this the reason Isaiah 43 had played on my walk tonight? I'm thinking, as I write about it, that is exactly the case.
The Crooked Path offers only one promise - God will not abandon us. Isaiah 43 is evidence of that truth, not some misapplied blather about us never experiencing anything bad. No, it just reinforces the idea that God is still God and my job is to trust him and follow, knowing all the while I will walk through the river and the fire and the tornado while still coming out whole in him. And that is quite a thought when you are this far away from a family huddled in the closet under a severe weather warning.