But now,Godâ€™s Message,
the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel:
â€œDonâ€™t be afraid, Iâ€™ve redeemed you.
Iâ€™ve called your name. Youâ€™re mine.
When youâ€™re in over your head, Iâ€™ll be there with you.
When youâ€™re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When youâ€™re between a rock and a hard place,
it wonâ€™t be a dead endâ€”
Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
Thatâ€™s how much you mean to me! Thatâ€™s how much I love you!
Iâ€™d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.
So donâ€™t be afraid: Iâ€™m with you.
Iâ€™ll round up all your scattered children, pull them in from east and west.
Iâ€™ll send orders north and south:
Send them back.
Return my sons from distant lands,
my daughters from faraway places.
I want them back, every last one who bears my name, every man, woman, and child
Whom I created for my glory, yes, personally formed and made each one.â€™â€ Â Â Isaiah 43:1-7 (The Message)
Lectionary texts: Isaiah 43:1-7, Psalm 29, Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:15-22
This is one of many passages that I believe is good for me to memorize. It is a promise. It is a â€œlifelineâ€ that I can call any time.
God is my Creator and Redeemer. Have you ever created something? I have friends that are artists and it must be beyond amazing to step back and look what has appeared on a canvas or been produced out of clay or stone or wood! I mean one minute it’s blank and then it’s â€“ beautiful! Or remember looking down into the eyes of your child the first time? This beautiful child was created out of love and now looks at you as if you are their whole world. They count on you for everything. God is not only my Father who looks at me with love but He also paid the ransom for my sin, He is my Redeemer. He did what I could not.
When I am in over my head. Creator. Redeemer. The only One who can handle whatever, whenever, wherever, and however what has overwhelmed me because there is nothing not in His hand. Oceans are in His hand. My boss. Every aspect of my life, including relationships and disease are in His power and within His wisdom.
God paid the price â€“ do I ‘get’ how much I am worth? God is my Redeemer. The price? Only God Himself could cover the cost. Do I ‘get’ that God would send His Son, Himself really, to pay a price that totally covers the cost of my sins? God didn’t pay a deposit or partial payment. He paid the bill in full for all eternity. I am worth that much to Him? He didn’t do this for just the sweet grandmother next door or the innocent new grandchild you have. He did it for me. He paid it for you. How about that?
The Bonus Promise. And then God speaks about an eternal home that He has prepared, continues to prepare that will be a paradise that is more than I can imagine (and I can imagine a lot!). It will be aesthetically beautiful but it will also be so perfect â€“ because He is there. And my James will be there and all those that I love because He loves them and they love Him.
Whether I am a prisoner in a cell more alone than I have ever been or in my bedroom alone with grief and sadness and too many bills, or in my office with a phone ringing and overwhelmed beyond what I believe I can do, God is with me. Jesus is there to with His promised Comforter and Wisdom-giver. It’s a promise. And it’s from God.