The text came from a friend as I recovered from chemo in Houston in 2011. She wanted to know my favorite verse. I had a hard time choosing from my long list of favorites, but there was one that had become so precious in my suffering.
When I battled angiosarcoma, there was no guarantee of a happy ending from my earthly perspective. No one could promise me I’d get my old life back. I definitely wasn’t getting my old body back. And I wondered if life after cancer would ever come close to normal for my family and me.
One thing I knew for sure: God’s presence with me was absolutely guaranteed. The fire was hot. The waves were high. But I was not alone.
“But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, 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.’” (Isaiah 43:1–2)
Isaiah shared these words of the Lord for future Israelites who would be exiled from their home and face an unknown future. They would lose everything: their country, their land, and the temple that served as the center of their faith. But Isaiah has a message of hope for the ancient Israelites and for us today.
The Lord gives us a reason not to fear: our Redeemer has called us by name. We belong to Him. He knows us. He cares for us. He delivers us. He will always be with us. We are His, so we have nothing to fear.
Our suffering may feel like giant ocean waves tossing us into the air and then plunging us into the depths. But the Lord will hold us fast. Even when our future here is uncertain, our future with Him is secure, because He has said, “You are Mine.”
No matter what you face this week, the One who called you by name will never leave you.
** Later this month I will celebrate 1 0 Y e A r S ! since my cancer diagnosis in October 2010. I can’t celebrate with a big party or a fantastic trip (thanks a lot, covid!), but I can celebrate with God’s Word. Each Monday, I’ll share a verse that was precious to me during my cancer battle. I hope it encourages you in whatever struggle you’re facing today. **
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