When I was a little girl my family made a yearly pilgrimage to the white sand and clear water beaches in Florida.
We were allowed to wade out on our own as high as our waist while the adults talked and sunbathed on shore. If we wanted to go deeper, even for those of us who were good swimmers, we had to wait for the grown ups to join us.
I have a vivid memory of one sunny day when the waves were rolling in and my six-foot-tall dad was standing neck deep in the Gulf. I was a little closer to shore and decided to join him.
My young mind didn’t do the math between my short self and his taller one and stepped off an underwater ledge into water way over my head. I panicked when I realized there was no way for me to save myself.
In a flash, Papa’s strong arms scooped me up and held me close.
As quickly as fear set in, it vanished because I knew he wouldn’t let me go until I could safely set my own feet down in shallower water.
My daddy wasn’t about to let anything happen to me.
I think about that summer moment nearly every time I read today’s verses.
8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.Isaiah 41: 8-10 KJV
God assures Israel (the nation) that He chose them. He cherishes them. He has called them and He will never forget nor forsake them.
It’s a beautiful thing to know that just like Israel, those of us who have been grafted in by the blood of Christ are also heirs together of these promises. (Ephesians 3:6; Romans 11:17)
If you have received the gift of eternal life through Jesus, you can be absolutely assured that God is your Father . He chose you in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). He will always take care of you.
Fear is a reasonable response to a situation outside our control.
It wasn’t silly for me to be afraid when my head went underwater and I despaired of saving myself.
When God tells me in His Word to “fear not!” it isn’t a rebuke. It’s encouragement.
God is my Father, He loves me so He says, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be dismayed”.
Why? Because He is with me.
As soon as my dad’s arms reached around me, fear fled. I was safe.
And if my earthly father’s strength and love was enough to allay my fears, how much more should my fears flee in the face of the strength, love and power of my Heavenly Father?
There are so many times I am afraid in this life.
So many times when things are out of control and beyond my comprehension. So many ways life goes wrong and I feel like they will never be made right.
But when I stop and point my heart in the direction of these promises, I can hold onto hope in spite of my fear.
Because my daddy has his arms around me.