When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

Isaiah 43:2

2016 has by far and away been the most excruciating season of my life. There were moments when I felt as though the rivers of life would sweep me away and just when I regained my footing the heat was turned up a notch and the fires of life threatened to take me down.

On February 7th, 2016, Super Bowl Sunday, my older brother died suddenly from heart complications. Losing him caused me to thrash about in waves of emotions that I could not manage in my own strength.  His passing turned up the heat in my family of origin and a lifetime of problems and misunderstandings were escalated. The waters passed over us and my hopes of healing were drowned in a sea of hurt.

Seven months later my aunt died, a few weeks later I broke my wrist in two places, and last week on December 19th, 2016, my mom died.

And I have seen the Lord’s faithfulness.

As the waves have been crashing and thrashing around me the Lord  has been right beside me. He has changed me, He has sustained me, He has given me new understanding, and He has shown Himself to be faithful.  While much of my life has been spinning out of control, He has remained constant and sure.

Passing through the waters is part of the great battle of life.  Each one of us will experience moments when we feel we cannot tread water any longer or take the heat of the fire. There is nothing we can do to avoid the human condition. The only thing we can do is decide whether we will face the storms and the fires in our own strength or in the strength of the Lord.

After passing through the waters there is one thing I am sure of –

If we pass through the waters in our own strength we will drown, but if we pass through the waters and look for the Lord He will help us make it through.

We can find rest in the mist of unrest, calm in the midst of chaos, guidance when we don’t know what to do, strength from loved ones, and confidence on the path even when it is rocky. We may have to ask for it over and over, but each time it will come.

Reading the Word sustains us as we pass through the waters. Scripture is important not only because it is true, but all truth and scriptures are meant to be applied to our lives and to our relationships. If I don’t take in the word of the Lord and apply to my life, I will fail and I will fall apart. Scripture has the miraculous way of calming my emotions when they are riding the crashing waves.

When I can muster up the courage to surrender my will and trust in God’s sovereign will it pulls me out of the flames. Giving Him my broken and hard heart gives Him the opportunity to fill my heart with His grace and His love in ways I had not experienced before.  As Jesus has walked with me through the waters I have experienced new life in Him that is full and abundant and filled with true peace. It doesn’t even make sense. This is “peace that passes understanding”. The Lord desires that we have an intimate relationship with Him that is not always experienced when life is running smoothly.  We tend to lean on Him a bit more when the waters run deep.

God is good in what He gives and what He takes away. Both are meant to give us greater peace, greater understanding, and greater joy in Him.

 Take a moment to thank the Lord for your many blessings in the year 2016.  Look for the blessings and the beauty of the Lord, even in your trials.

sunset in autumn in November, a bright yellow, brown and black colors, to sit round the sun, clouds heavy different sizes,sun on the horizon, solar path the pond, very dark background

“Prosperity has a tendency to conceal idolatry and false faith. Loss reveals what we really love and believe.” – Jon Bloom

Until next time,