Read Isaiah 43:1-13

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, 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.
I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you;
I will say to the north, “Give them up,”
and to the south, “Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away
and my daughters from the end of the earth–
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes,
who are deaf, yet have ears!
Let all the nations gather together, and let the peoples assemble.
Who among them declared this, and foretold to us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to justify them,
and let them hear and say, “It is true.”
You are my witnesses, says the LORD,
and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.
I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.
I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are my witnesses, says the LORD.
I am God, and also henceforth I am He;
there is no one who can deliver from my hand;
I work and who can hinder it?

from Rev. Judy Bennett, Island Christian Church, Wheeling:

We live in a time when people need encouragement as never before. It is also a time when many are asking – ‘Where is God in all of this pain and tragedy?’ There is fear, uncertainty and lagging faith as new challenges arise in the lives of God’s children everywhere.

As we walk with Jesus on the road to Jerusalem, we read the comforting words of this Isaiah passage often shared with those needing a large dose of God’s assurance. He who created us knows each of us by name. He is also present with us no matter what the circumstances.

Claim this assurance for yourself today. God is with you in the midst of your deepest need. Do not fear! God who created you is calling you by name –- holding your hand – carrying you through the deepest of waters. Have courage knowing you are loved beyond your wildest imaginings by the one in whose image you have been created.

Ever-Present One, help me to see you at work in all of life.

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