Isaiah 43: 1-3 The Message translation:
But now, God’s Message,
the God who made you in the first place,
the One who got you started,
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with 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—
Because I am God, your personal God,
Let’s get the bad news out of the way here. There will be times in your life when you’re in over your head. Times when you don’t know what to do next. Times when nothing seems to go right. You will go through rough waters, it won’t always be smooth sailing for your journey. You will find yourself between a rock and a hard place, darned if you do and darned if you don’t. You will face-plant yourself in a dead end. It’s all right here in this scripture.
This. Is. Life. We were warned.
Yet somehow when things happen to us we’re so shocked. We throw Hollywood worthy grand pity parties for a party of one. Let me tell you this straight up, not a single “why me” will ever solve a single thing in your life. Ever. Why you? Because you’re human. Because you’re alive. That’s why.
I used to believe if you’re a good person and you love God, especially if you’re seeking to follow his will, then you’re insulated from hardships. And then I witnessed a sweet little girl named Phoebee lose her life and my theory was blown to heck. I had somehow twisted God’s word to believe I was entitled to things such as a healthy family. And then I saw a family much more sacrificial, much more Godly, much more lovely than my own lose their sweet little Phoebe. If they weren’t entitled to health, how could I possibly be? If Phoebee wasn’t entitled to a long life, how could I be?
And that’s when I came to this reality … I’m entitled to nothing so I’m grateful for everything. When you realize everything you have, EVERYTHING is by the grace of God and you’re entitled to not a single bit of it, then your life is opened up to be truly grateful for everything. You earned none of it. It was given to you. And it was given to you with a great responsibility to take care of it. You don’t just receive a healthy body by the grace of God, not take care of it and expect to magically remain healthy. Nope it doesn’t work that way. You don’t receive a clean slate, a fresh start and opportunity for a do-over and not be required to DO anything. Your participation in your life is required. You are entitled to nothing. Once you understand that, you can be truly grateful for everything. And with that gratitude comes a sense of responsibility to take the best darn care you can of that which you have been given.
So, that’s the bad news … some crap is going to happen in your life. Hard days will come. Good plans will fall apart.
Now the good news.
I mean the ridiculously good news. God’s already redeemed you. You may not see it yet or feel it right now, but you’ve already been redeemed. Every bad thing that’s ever happened to you is in the process of being whipped into something of purpose. Lives will be touched because of what you’ve experienced. You will be used to make a positive impact. This is part of your legacy. You are redeemed.
God has promised you in this scripture that he will be right there with you. You are not alone. He sees you. Someone listening today just needs to know that your God, sees you. He is with you in this storm and you’re NOT going down. It may feel like you’re sinking. It may look hopeless, but God has his eye on you and he is making a way. He’s working miracles just for you. He’s releasing his power in your direction. Imagine that, God’s power is heading in your direction! Coming straight for you.
He is not only your God, but he is your PERSONAL God. You are his prized possession. He looks at you with pride. He hand made you, created you with his imagination, formed you specifically for the BIG life he had in mind for you, equipped you with talents, gifts and passions specifically for that life, then called you his own. He paid the highest price imaginable for you. Just for YOU. Now that’s a personal God. And his power is directed at you today.
So the bad news, life happens to all of us. We’re not isolated from problems, nor are we insulated from trouble. Problems and trouble will come. Don’t be shocked. Don’t wallow in your pity party of “why me”, convinced you’re the only person in the history of ever to go through the fire. The fire touches all of us. The good news, the fire refines us. The good news, this isn’t the end. The good news is THIS IS A SET UP. You’ve been setup for your comeback.
God made you and he got you started. He’s not through with you yet. He’s redeeming you. The life he created you for goes right through this and beyond this, so keep moving. Remember today that you’re entitled to nothing. Look around, nothing in your life is a result of your entitlement. Every last detail is a gift by the grace of God, and this truth demands your gratitude.