Encouragement for Today 24 February 2022
Viewing Our Future Through the Right Filter
MEREDITH HOUSTON CARR
“This is what the LORD says—he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters … ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.’” Isaiah 43:16,18-19 (NIV)
“Mom, I don’t want to go to second grade,” my sweet son whispered to me one summer evening. I pulled him in close and asked why, hoping he would open up his tender heart.
“What if it’s too hard? What if I can’t do it? I’m afraid …” His voice trailed off, and I hugged him tightly. Pulling out my best “encouraging mom” speech, I assured him he’d have a great year and we would face any challenges together. Happily, his spirits lifted, and he headed outside to play.
As his mom, I knew he would be just fine — but his vulnerable honesty hit close to home. As though looking in a mirror, I saw my own tendencies to view the future through a filter of fear.
I wonder if you can relate. Those two words “what if” have a way of sending us spiraling down a black hole of anxiety.
What if the job doesn’t come through?
What if she gets sick?
What if he leaves?
What if …
Whether we’re sifting through the pieces of loss, facing uncertainty or experiencing the consequences of our own choices, looking forward can knock us down — and we struggle to see hope on the horizon.
Centuries ago, the people of Judah grappled with a similar challenge. God had set them apart as a nation, rescued them from Egyptian slavery and given them a spacious land of their own. Yet tragically, generation after generation sinned and rejected God. Consequently, they found themselves enslaved again, this time as exiles in Babylon.
Looking ahead, God’s people saw darkness instead of hope. How could God possibly redeem and rescue them from their captivity and sin?
Yet into this dismal place, God sent the prophet Isaiah to speak the comforting words of truth we read in today’s key verse:
“This is what the Lord says—he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters … ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland’” (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19).
These beautifully poetic words supplied the courage the exiles desperately needed, reminding them of several essential truths about God. Likewise, as adopted and dearly loved children of God, we, too, can draw courage by applying these truths to our lives.
So when we’re battling fear over the days to come, let’s filter our fearful thoughts through these realities:
God is capable. Isaiah reminded the people about God’s incredible deliverance in the past. The Lord made a way when there was no way — literally opening up the sea! (Exodus 14) We, too, can spend time recalling God’s faithfulness to us. Looking back, we’ll see God has never once failed, and He never will. Our strong God is capable of bringing us through anything.
God is creative. After recalling the past, Isaiah tells the people to forget it — because God is doing something new! Isaiah’s words remind us the God who created everything is constrained by nothing. Nothing is impossible in Him! We serve a creative God who loves us and loves to surprise us in imaginative ways.
God is carving a new way for us. Where we see only grief, confusion and fear, God sees endless potential for redemption. Our dependable, loving God works tirelessly on our behalf, drying up seas and turning deserts into gardens. We need not fear the future, for where we see no way, God sees the best way.
Dear one, our capable and creative God is carving a way for us through every uncertainty and unknown. May we filter our future through this truth and face the days ahead with a hope that settles our souls.
Dear Lord, thank You for holding our future in Your capable, creative hands. When we face the temptation to fear, remind us of Your faithfulness and steadfast love. We entrust all our days to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.