The views expressed below are those of the writer and may not reflect the views of Rejoice Marriage Ministries or the Steinkamps.
Men, has the Lord placed a devotional on your heart that you would like to share with other standers?
But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “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. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west. I will say to the north and south, ‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth. Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.’” Isaiah 43:1-7 (NLT)
These reassuring words from Isaiah remind us that as believers, we are never far from God’s grace and provision. This is particularly true during this season of a world-wide pandemic of the Covid-19 virus. God is not only near, He is with us right now and forever. Isaiah continues in 43:10b-11 (NLT):
“You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God—there never has been, and there never will be. I, yes I, am the LORD, and there is no other Savior.”
Yes, through these dark days in the world today with the Covid-19 virus pandemic, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That light is found in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. The Gospel of John 1:4-5 speaks to this:
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (…not understood it.)
Fear and unrest has seized our world this year as our very lives have been turned upside down with this pandemic. We can only see the future as a blurry picture, a picture that mimics how the world trembled during the great flu pandemic of 1918-1919, and later during WWII with its economic, political and social unrest. But God says… “Do not be afraid, for I am with you!”
I look back in my own life, to a time some years ago, when my marriage was falling apart. I remember being at a small group meeting of my church Bible class. Just two days prior, I had received a divorce petition from my wife. Even though I knew the petition was coming, when the speculation became reality, I was devastated. I remember pouring out my wounded heart to this small group of Christian couples, sobbing as I told them of where I found myself (and my marriage). As I left that gathering, the Lord spoke to me in what I remember was like an audible voice, like a person sitting in the car right next to me. He called me to stand for (honor) my marriage relationship and vows, that this marriage was very special to Him. He let me know that I was NOT ALONE. He told me “Do not be afraid, for I am with you”.
Since that day in February 2006, I have stood faithfully on my marriage vows sworn before God and my wife. My wife got the divorce she wanted in September 2006. I did not fight her other than tell her I did not desire a divorce. Through the weeks, months, and years since, I have continued to stand, honoring those vows. About two years ago, my wife contacted me via a note, apologizing for not coming to nor RSVPing to an 80th birthday party host by several Christian friends. Since that note, my wife and I have dated, catching up on the times we have been apart. We continue to date even to today, renewing our friendship, a close friendship we both missed out on during our time apart.
Yes, our Lord is with you and me in those moments when it feels like He doesn’t care and we feel like we are all alone in this fallen world. Yet, for those who have answered His call to believe and who have surrendered to His Lordship, He says that we are His. Hebrews 13:5b-6 states… “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
So fellow standers I ask… “Where do you stand? Is it with our (your) Lord and Savior who honors our (your) marriage vows or is it with he who rules the darkness in our fallen world?” Know this, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is always ready to welcome a lost and suffering soul home. Stand firm with our Triune God and you will never be lost and afraid again.
Standing firm with God, who witnessed the wedding vows my wife and I exchanged at our wedding, vows I will continue to honor until my wife and I are parted by death.
Ben in Texas