When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you (Isaiah 43:2 NLT)
Friend to Friend
“I’m not doing this again,” I proclaimed, and I meant it with all my heart.
Just a few days before, I spent a dark, rainy weekend packing our lives into boxes and then unloading them into a new place in a new city.
Though the bulk of the work was behind me, I felt exhausted and unsatisfied. I didn’t look forward to new memories and planting roots, because this new place had no more certainty than the last one. I feared another weekend much like the one I’d just experienced was all too close.
So, I announced I wasn’t doing it again … but my husband’s career required us to relocate often. Although I knew I couldn’t cling to the idea of never moving again, I could purpose to do it differently the next time.
Why do we need this lamp? There are perfectly fine lights on the ceiling. Who needs headboards for the beds? The wall will be support enough. This dresser isn’t necessary. We can stack clothes on the shelf in the closet.
And so it went. One thing at a time, I whittled away at our stuff and created a simpler, much more manageable life of mobility.
In Today’s Truth, God promises to deliver His people, the Israelites, from their exile. After years in captivity, they would have rejoiced at the freedom to return to their homeland. But to get there, they would have to travel a long distance.
Their travel would look quite different from ours — no plane to catch and no moving van to haul their stuff. So you can imagine the challenge this nation would face when they found themselves standing in front of deep waters or difficult rivers.
Men, women, children, livestock and all their belongings would have to find a way through these physical obstacles.
Though we may not come upon an actual river, we will likely encounter something in the next year that reminds us of a rushing current or suffocating smoke. Notice how Today’s Truth says, “When you go through deep waters … When you go through rivers of difficulty … When you walk through the fire of oppression.”
When. Not if.
The nation of Israel was guaranteed to encounter all of these on their journey, and I think we can count on it too. So, let’s prepare for it.
When I realized the uncertainty of my family’s future, I purposed to get rid of all of the extra, unnecessary things that weighed us down—the things we absolutely could live without and would ultimately free us up to follow God wherever He chose to lead us.
After that day, my family moved another seven times. We actually got pretty good at it. Our things became so simplified that we accomplished one of our last moves in a matter of hours.
We all have extra, sometimes in our physical surroundings, and sometimes in our spiritual ones. To prepare for the troubles sure to surface, there are probably some things we don’t need to bring with us into the new year.
So, I’ve started asking myself a different question. Instead of pondering what do we need, I began to consider what don’t we need. Sometimes, the one thing we don’t need could be the one thing that drags us under.
Of course, no matter how prepared we feel, we’ll never be able to conquer our troubles alone. God didn’t just warn of potential problems ahead, He included promises to stand on in the midst of them.
God will be with us. We will not be overtaken. We will not be utterly consumed.
As we head into a new year, let’s start this one prepared, so when we face the trials of life we will stand. Undaunted by deep waters. Ready for rivers of difficulty. Fearless in the face of the fire.
Is there something you need to leave in 2022 in order to prepare for 2023?
Dear God, Thank You for the promise of Your presence as I travel through 2023. Show me what I need to leave in 2022 in order to be ready for Your plans in 2023.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What don’t you need in your physical things? To help you answer this consider: If you had to move tomorrow, what would you throw away or give away?
What don’t you need in your spiritual life? Is there unforgiveness in your heart that you need to leave in 2022? Is there a habit that keeps you from growing spiritually?
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© 2022 by Katy McCown. All rights reserved.
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