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But now thus says the Lord,
    he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, 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.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
] and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my sight,
    and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
    I will bring your offspring from the east,
    and from the west I will gather you;
I will say to the north, “Give them up,”
    and to the south, “Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away
    and my daughters from the end of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”
Isaiah 43:1-7

Chapter 43 of Isaiah begins with encouragement and comfort as Isaiah remembers God’s past grace that allows us to have future hope.  He reminds us that as we trust God through hard times, even when the hard times are a result of our own doing, he will not leave 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.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord, your God (v 2,3). 

I love Eugene Peterson’s interpretation of this passage.  He writes, “When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there for you.  When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.  When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end … So don’t be afraid; I’m with you and I love you!”

Are you in such a place right now?  Are you struggling against fear of an illness or trying to avoid thoughts of a lonely life?  Have you lost your job or your family?  God is not saying that trouble or harm will never come, but He is saying that His people will never be apart from his loving presence.  Will you hear these words for yourself today, even if you’ve been ignoring God recently?  Will you turn back to God and hear him say to you personally… You are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you and I will sustain you.