“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.” Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)
As we come upon another new year, the beginning of a whole new DECADE, I wonder- what does God have in store for us on this leg of life’s journey?
Looking back on the last 10 years is mindblowing. Who were you when the decade started in 2010? What was your family going through? What was your life like?
I was a freshman in high school when this decade began. I couldn’t have imagined what winding paths & deep waters I would walk through in those 10 years: Lost loved ones, forgotten friendships, difficult coursework, sickness, temptation, family drama, life transitions…
But let’s not forget the great things, too- new friendships & relationships, the beginning of an exciting career, so many adventures, travels, & a whirlwind of blessings from God.
This new year’s journey will certainly bring each of us to places we’ve never been & experiences we’ve never had — good & bad.
In Isaiah 43:2 , God talks to the Israelites as they begin a journey. After years in captivity, they were free to return to their homeland. But to get there, they would have to travel a long distance. Their journey would look different from ours — no planes to catch, no cars to drive, no fast food along the road. So you can imagine the challenge these people would face when they found themselves standing in front of deep waters or difficult rivers.
Men, women, children, livestock and all their belongings would have to find a way through these physical obstacles.
Though we may not come upon an actual river in our journey, we will likely encounter something this year that feels like a rushing current or suffocating smoke. Notice how the verse says, “When you go through deep waters … When you go through rivers of difficulty … When you walk through the fire of oppression.”
When. Not if.
God doesn’t promise that this new year (or this new decade) will bring us everything we always dreamed about. He doesn’t promise a journey free from hardships. He doesn’t even promise that we’ll receive everything we desire in this lifetime.
What He does promise is that He will be with us. The waters won’t drown us, the smoke won’t suffocate us, we won’t burn up. We have nothing to fear.
So as you prepare for the road you’ll travel in the upcoming year, may your sights be set on the One who will lead you through it. When you come upon the winding paths, deep waters, & whatever flaming arrows the devil throws your way, remember that the God of the universe is with you. He is guarding you, & he is guiding you.
May God bring abundant blessings to you & your families as we begin this new decade of life. And when life seems to take a turn for the worst, may you remember that all things — even the seemingly bad things — God will work out for your ultimate good. (Romans 8:28.)