Have you ever watched a really good suspenseful movie twice? I love to rewatch my favorite movies over and over again. However, it is never as emotionally intense as it is the first time I watch it. I remember watching “Saving Private Ryan” with Tom Hanks. The battle scene on Omaha Beach left a mark on my soul. As I watched it the first time, I emotionally and mentally put myself in their shoes. I felt hopeless…It was like shooting fish in a barrel. The bravery of those men to get off of that boat and try to move forward under that heavy attack is absolutely astounding to me.
The feeling of hopelessness makes it extremely difficult to fight, to keep going, to even try. Fortunately for the whole world, the men on those boats DID fight, did keep going, did try…..and succeeded! Now that I have seen the movie several times, I don’t feel hopeless when I watch that scene. I just sit with tears streaming down my face and watch in amazement at the bravery of those men. The stress and worry about what is going to happen and who’s going to make it, is gone. I know what is going to happen in that scene. In fact, I know the ending of the whole movie. Wouldn’t it be helpful in stressful, or difficult situations in our real lives to know ahead of time how things are going to work out? Maybe there is something you are going through right now that is difficult. You may be worried about a marriage, a health diagnosis, a child or a job situation. I can certainly relate. I think we all have been there a time or two, maybe even right now.
In Isaiah 43:1-4 God speaks to us. “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. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.”
Oddly enough, he begins with a spoiler alert! He tells the ending in the very first verse! Verse one says “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” He then goes on to tell us that we may encounter difficulties, even disastrous circumstances where we might feel frightened, exhausted, discouraged, even hopeless, but he says you WILL NOT be overwhelmed or consumed by these circumstances. Remember, he says at the very beginning, I HAVE redeemed you….not I WILL redeem you, but I ALREADY HAVE. It’s a done deal. The victory is SURE. It may be frightening, it may be exhausting to fight the battle. At times the battle may ebb and flow and look like there is no hope for victory, BUT…. you can have peace in the middle of the battle, even when the bullets are flying in front of your face. You can have confidence that the battle is already won. You just have to keep moving forward. Keep praying, keep spending time in worship and reading his Word. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. You do your part. He has ALREADY done his. Why has he already won the victory? Verse four tells us, “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.” He starts with the spoiler alert, in hopes of relieving the intense emotions that we can feel as humans when we are facing something devastating or seemingly hopeless, like when you watch that suspenseful movie for the first time. So, take a deep breath. He says in verse three “For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One, your Savior.” Scripture tells us that sometimes life will be hard, even frightening. So how do we walk through the river of troubles and the fire of devastating circumstances and not be emotionally overwhelmed and consumed? Over Christmas holiday I spent some time with my husbands grandmother, who has since passed on to be with her Savior. She was a mighty woman of God. I asked her this same question….I asked her how she did it. She gave me a scripture that got her through the tough times. Isaiah 26:3 (Yes Isaiah again! There is a lot of helpful scripture in that book!) It says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in You.” I will admit that it sounds easier than it is. I struggle. I do believe that every word He says is true. I have faith that he will keep his promises. The peace part is where I struggle….What did that verse say again? “he whose MIND is STAYED ON THEE.” So that is how I survive the stressful situations in my life. It’s not rocket science. The answers are right there in black and white. However, it does take mental discipline. I KNOW he is faithful. I know the ending. I just have to keep spending time in worship and scripture to remind me of who he is. One last time, lets look at scripture to remind ourselves of who He is. Of course, it’s in Isaiah. In Isaiah 40:28-31 God speaks to us himself…
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable (His thoughts are higher than ours…He sees the WHOLE picture, while we only see a part) He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no more might, he increases strength. Even young strong men will get exhausted; but they who WAIT for the Lord (in faith, in his presence, while HE fights and WINS the battle) shall renew their strength; then they will mount up with wings like eagles (having rested in his presence) and will be able to run and not be weary; they will walk and not faint.”
I hope these scriptures encourage you when you are being attacked by the enemy. They are a light and a hope for me. I will add one piece of advice. Don’t go through it alone. Find some trusted prayer warriors to support you. If you don’t know any, call or walk into a Bible believing church. They will have a prayer team that will dutifully pray over your situation. Never forget, He says, “Fear not, I HAVE redeemed you.”