Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Stand Among Us"1 (Lyrics)
Isaiah 43:1b-2,4b – Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 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. You are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. (NLT)
Our trip was going well until everything went sideways. The road in front of us was straight and the traffic light. All of a sudden, our small travel trailer began fishtailing back and forth, my husband fighting valiantly to control the wheel, to no avail. Black ice! The trailer landed on its side on the grassy median, ten miles north of Great Falls, Montana, USA.
My husband and I were on our way back to Canada after volunteering in Arizona, but we weren't supposed to be going home in the middle of March in 2020. We felt peace, though, amidst the beginnings of the COVID-19 crisis, while elsewhere, panic took over and a state of emergency was declared in Alberta. Our children were glad that we were on our way, and they waited anxiously for a text saying that we were safely over the border and headed home where we belonged.
Fear had gripped my heart in the preceding days. I worried about a wave of pestilence of biblical proportions sweeping over the land. Schools and churches were closing. Would the border close as well? Where would we self-isolate? Our adult son was immuno-compromised and lived with us, so we couldn't stay at home. My troubled thoughts raged back and forth like the lurching trailer.
During the night, the Lord spoke to me: "Do not be afraid!" As we swung back and forth over the pavement, it seemed like we were in the midst of a hurricane. I felt no fear for the few long seconds of hanging on for the ride. Miraculously, our vehicle had not overturned, and was not damaged. My husband remained calm; we were enveloped in peace.
Philippians 4:7 – The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)
Eventually, everything fell into place, and we made it safely home. We found somewhere to self-isolate. We experienced worship on livestream for the first time. Easter was celebrated in a quiet way, with a verse reinforcing what God had told me:
Matthew 28:5a – But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid." (NKJV)
Jesus didn't say that we would never go through rivers of difficulty or escape fire that could consume us. He said, "I will be with you" in the midst of difficulty. He was with us to give us His peace even as we experienced our accident. Because He ransomed us, bought us back, we belong to Him, and we are precious to Him. Therefore, He looks after us.
One year later, our COVID-19 days are not over. We should not be discouraged. God is with us, and He will carry us through the difficult times. Let us embrace His love and care.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, not to be overwhelmed by the circumstances that surround us. Help us to remember that You said, "I will be with You", and that You will help us through our difficulties. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.