“1 But now, O Israel, the Lord who created you says: “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you go through deep waters and great trouble, 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. 3 For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba as a ransom for your freedom. 4 Others died that you might live. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.”
As we come to Isaiah 43 we find some weighty words about our worth. This is an example of how much God loves us. Our worth rests in knowing and believing that we are the beloved. Many of us spend our lives trying to earn God’s love instead of living in His love. When we try to earn His love we end up living exhausted lives because no matter how many rungs you try to climb you will keep falling off the ladder. Not only is it exhausting but it wears on our worth because instead of resting in God’s words we end up working to feel worthy. It’s here that the enemy of our souls shows up to whisper, “You are not a very good Christian, why not just give it up.” Unfortunately, many of us do, we listen to satan and give up on God. Fortunately, we serve a faithful Father who relentlessly pursues us with His unconditional love. He continuously calls to us saying, “You are precious and honored in my sight and I love you” Isaiah 43:4. When we listen to the words of the Lord, when we embraced this as truth, our whole world will change and we will walk in fruitful freedom. The satisfaction that we so desperately seek comes not in knowing who we are, but whose we are. It’s here in Isaiah 43 that we discover four statements that God makes about us, words that should bring great weight to our worth. The first statement is found in verse 1:
- You are mine.
This is a statement of ownership. Ownership that speaks of belonging not controlling. Satan wants to own you in a controlling way, so he can use you and abuse you. Where satan wants to own you in a controlling way, God owns you in a comforting and connecting way, where satan wants to break you God wants to bless you. The truth is that we all want to belong, even the Hells Angels who proclaim freedom and independence gather as a gang because deep down we all want to belong. Many of us fail to see that as the beloved we already belong so we go searching for something or someone that will accept us. In our desperation to belong many of us become people pleasers and subject ourselves to unhealthy relationships. Women stay with abusive men because they are desperate to belong and be wanted, but instead of being blessed they become bruised. Instead of feeling wanted these relationships destroy our worth. There are others who no matter how hard they try never really feel like they fit in, which can have a profound impact on our self-worth. The problem with seeking human relationships in order to gain a sense of worth is that most of these relationships require effort to feel wanted. Instead of resting in the relationship and enjoying it we are constantly working to gain worth. We end up ruining our human relationships because instead of enjoying them we end up robbing them. We end up making the goal of our relationships feeding our feelings of worth instead of feeding the relationship. When we believe God’s word and what He says about us we don’t have to work to gain our worth. Resting in what God’s says about our worth protects us from all the destructive ways we go about trying to measure up and gain worth. Some try to conquer to gain worth, some seek it through personal advancement, some turn to possessing things, if I have more stuff I can feel significant, some try to find it in a paycheck thinking that money will make them feel like they have arrived. The problem is that no matter what worldly avenue you use to gain worth it will never work because there will always be one more hill to climb. The Lord is telling us that we do not need to be afraid of anything because he owns us, we belong to Him. He knows our names, He knows us intimately. He knows what hurts us and he knows what causes us to laugh, he knows all of our needs, and he knows our past. In spite of all of this, he loves us. Not only do we belong but second God tells us:
- I will be with you.
It is here that we see God’s power to protect. He assures us that no matter what we go through in this life, he is with us. There will be times in your life where you will feel like you are in deep waters, doing everything you can to keep your head above them so that you don’t drown. During those times you may not be aware of everything that is going on around you, but you can be sure that God is present with you. God doesn’t say if, but “When you go through deep waters and great trouble.” Problems are inevitable and God doesn’t promise to remove the problems He promises His presence in the problems. In Matthew 28:16-20 when the disciples came to Jesus after the resurrection scripture says that they worshiped Him and yet some of them doubted. They doubted the deity even though He had just come back to life and defeated death. Jesus responded to these doubts by both commissioned and comforted them. He reminded them of both His power and His presence, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations….And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” No matter what problems you are facing, whether fire or flood God has the power to protect you. If you are in the midst of a mess right now let me encourage you to stop focusing on the problems and start focusing on His presence. Are you weighing your worth on what the world says or on God’s word?