The end of the line for the Write 31 Day challenge.
But not for deep to DEEP.
As I was writing this month, I realized how dear I hold this series, and how I don't want it to end. While I won't be posting every day (yes, give an amen! It's a little much...), I want to keep revisiting this topic. I believe the concept behind deep to DEEP is important, and since there are so many parts to it...too many to touch on in a month...I plan to add this to my standing topics.
But for the final post for the challenge, I was struck by a few verses from the book of Isaiah. Strung together, they are some of my favorite words:
But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
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.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." (ISA 43:1-3)
Gives me chills.
The first step given is to listen. How easy it is to SAY we're listening, but when push comes to shove, we listen to other voices instead. The guest speaker who visited my church yesterday said it along this vein...which voice is louder...God's Truth or the world's lies?
Do you believe the Word that says, "I will be with you," or the world that says "your God is weak and uncaring"?
There is so much hope in this verse...but it also doesn't cut corners. It doesn't try to paint a picture that isn't true. It doesn't say you might be in deep waters, you might go through rivers, you might walk through fire. It says when.
When you're in the deep. When you're in the water. When you're in the fire.
And then it promises some things.
God will be with you.
You will not drown.
You will not be burned up. The flames won't consume.
I've been in the deep, and when I started listening, God pulled me up and out. He showed me He was there.
I've been in the chaotic waters, and when I started listening, God re-focused my vision. He pulled me into a raft.
I've been in the flames, and when I heard, I walked and let God refine. He's the ultimate firefighter.
I didn't always do that, of course. For a long time the lies were louder than the Bible. I know what it's like to live in between loving Jesus but without the hope of the Word. And I don't want to live there ever again.
Like a parent cheering on a stumbling toddler learning to walk, I imagine God applauds for me as I keep listening. I have stumbled. I will stumble. But I want to keep the Truth in my ear and let the lies fade away.
It didn't happen in one day. It happened slowly. Bit by bit. Root by bitter root.
There are days when the deep once again threatens.
When the chaotic waters rise.
When I start to feel the flames.
But deep to deep, river to river, fire to fire, God brings me into his DEEP.
Because I am precious to Him. I am honored by Him. I am loved by Him. (paraphrase of Isa 43:4b)
And in your deep to deep, river to river, fire to fire, listen and let God bring you into his DEEP.
You are precious to Him. You are honored by Him. You are loved by Him.
"May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord shine on you and be gracious to you, may the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace." Amen. (Numbers 6:24-26)