“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2
I had always found great comfort in this verse during times of trial, knowing that no matter how hard my life got, God would not let the troubles overwhelm me. Most of these trials have had to do with finances. How many times can you drive around the same block of “not enough in my bank account” before you realize that you are in the wrong neighborhood and hightail it out of there? Seemed to me that we had tried a million different paths to a million different locations and always ended up in the same place – that run down, ugly part of town called “Lack”
otherwise known as “Hope Deferred”
or “Too many Big Dreams and Not Enough Money.”
I was praying again for some insight on how to conduct our lives in a way that would lead us to that abundant peace and prosperity that the Bible is always talking about. Again God gave me Isaiah 43. But this time I understood it in a very different way.
Perhaps the most dangerous and powerful rivers in this life were not hardships as I had supposed. Perhaps success, wealth, and the praises of man were far more perilous. Perhaps the fiercest flames were not that of failure and rejection but that of acceptance and comfort.
My husband, Chris, loves music and had gotten in the habit of watching the TV show “Behind the Music.” I don’t know very many popular bands, but I could predict the basic story line of almost every show. A few guys had some talent and big dreams to become rich and famous. They achieved their dream after varying degrees of time and effort. They were worshiped by fans. They had enough money to make every desire and whim become a reality. They had everything they ever wanted…and it just wasn’t enough. They would spiral out of control with excess; drinking, women, and drugs. Many of them ruined their families and careers. Some even lost their lives. The blessed few humbled themselves and got their lives back on track.
What I learned is that quick and easy success is no blessing! The adoration of fans is no blessing! Abundant wealth is no blessing…if you do not have the character to handle it…it will destroy you.
If all our dreams came true tomorrow, I wouldn’t become a drug addict. Chris wouldn’t become a womanizer. Yet we could become prideful without even realizing it. We could rejoice in our own wisdom and power. We might be tempted to lead others to our most excellent way rather than point them to THE WAY. We might become too comfortable to seek His kingdom first.
I began to read Isiah 43 in a new light. Chris and I had learned so much through our 19 years of marriage. How to better budget our money. How to work as a team. How to pray and trust God more. How to leave behind generational curses. We had made so much progress, yet we still did not see the prosperity that God had promised us.
Then I heard His still, small voice.
“What is left is for you to do is to seek me and know me more. Every moment of everyday, take the opportunity to sink your roots deeper into the soil of my love and truth. I am withholding the mighty river of overwhelming blessing simply because you are not yet ready to handle it. Until your roots are firmly anchored in me, it could sweep you away.”
I am so thankful that God is keeping me safe from myself. I am so thankful that his promises mean that someday I will be like Jesus; able to steward great power and responsibility without letting it control me. Being able to humbly accept both abundance and lack and be content. I will be able to follow the advice of Rudyard Kipling.
“If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same.”
Triumph and Disaster and are powerful forces that could consume all that is good in our lives. Yet if we are already completely consumed by the Lover of Our Souls, those two impostors have no chance at moving us… except deeper into his embrace.