Knowing very well that the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is on everyone’s mind, I thought I’d share a short devotion encouraging us to trust in God’s faithfulness and promises. In the face of danger, we need to be prudent and wise, but also need to be careful our heart is not held in bondage to fear. It’s not always an easy balance to maintain, but meditating on the promises of God brings inner peace in the face of external pressures.
The promises of God are like concrete pylons driven deep into the ocean floor. When waves of anxiety push us around or threaten to sink us, we may tie the rope of our faith to the immovable character of God, which his promises reveal. “Fear not,” God says, and then he makes a promise.
“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
The prophet Isaiah was given a tough assignment—to declare the displeasure that God felt toward his chosen people and to predict the judgment that they would receive. But, as it so often happens with God, mingled with this painful news are comforting promises of hope and restoration. Though these promises were made to Abraham’s physical seed, they can also be applied to his spiritual seed—the “sons of Abraham” (Gal. 3:7)—that is, every Christian. You can fasten the rope of your faith to God’s assurances.
God cares for you because he created you, redeemed you, and made you his own (see Isa. 43:1). You are precious to God because he redeemed you and adopted you into his family (see Gal. 4:4–5). He calls you by his name and has even given you a new name (see Rev. 2:17). He says, “You are mine.”
God will be with you in your trials (see Isa. 43:2). He assured his chosen people that “when you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” And today he assures you that “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). Even if you walk through dark valleys, God is with you (see Ps. 23:4). He says, “You are not alone.”
Your trials will not overtake you (see Isa. 43:2). God assured his people that he would be with them through rivers and fire. His presence would keep them from being overwhelmed, burned, or consumed. Though your faith is “tested by fire,” you are being “guarded through faith” (see 1 Peter 1:5–7). In times of testing, you may be confident that God will “provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13). He says, “You are safe.”
God’s promises have the power to tame your emotions when you bank on them. Your anxieties scream, “God has forgotten you! You are alone! You are in danger!” They work overtime to distract you from what is true. But God assures you, “You are mine. You are not alone. You are safe.” Do you trust in these promises? Will you anchor yourself to them? When your spiritual storehouse is well-stocked with promises like these, it will be more difficult for your heart to be overtaken by fear, and you will be more like the righteous man who “is not afraid of bad news,” because your heart will be “firm, trusting in the Lord” (Ps. 112:7).
Our days and years are in the hands of our good, wise, and sovereign God. Let us ask Him to keep our fears tamed by His steady promises!
[This meditation is adapted from the 31-day devotional, ANXIETY: Knowing God’s Peace.]