My friend, Jason, lives in the Houston area and recently updated his Facebook status to these words: Isaiah 43:2. Why would he choose those words?
I can’t speak for Jason, but knowing what a strong believer he is, I suspect it is because he knows the context of the words. When we know the setting in which Isaiah’s words apply, we can see why someone dealing with the overwhelming aftermath of the flooding produced by Harvey would chose this particular verse on which to ground his response.
Questions Need Responses
If you are struggling with God right now because you look around and see so much destruction, suffering, and pain, I get it. Without the context of God’s character and his love for his rebellious and fallen creation, it would be only natural to have questions.
I saw an example of this very kind of inquiry on Twitter the other day. And the responses I saw to that question reflected a knowledge of context (and a personal knowledge and relationship with God).
Here’s the question tweet and one of the responses from a believer:
Now, I don’t know for certain God’s reasons for doing or not doing specific things. Why does he allow storms like Harvey to cause death and destruction? I don’t know.
But I do know God’s character as revealed in the Bible and in Jesus. And so, like my friend Jason, I can cling to the words of Isaiah and find comfort and hope. Yes, the storm waters seem to have the upper hand. They have claimed lives and destroyed homes.
Yet, I also see God present with those who are suffering and grieving.
I see him giving us perspective on our pettiness and selfishness.
I see him offering us opportunities to express love and self-sacrifice rather than hate and self-centeredness.
What is the context for Isaiah 43:2?
It is never a good idea to pull a verse out of its context. We run a huge risk of twisting the intended meaning and message. So, to understand why there is such hope and comfort in verse 43:2 of this very large and complex book, I want to share this amazing overview from The Bible Project. In around 16 minutes, you’ll understand the context, see the character of God on display, and be equipped to understand how these words are right at home in a seemingly hopeless scenario.
While the two situations (Israelites in exile due to a man-made disaster and Texans suffering from a natural disaster) are very different, the general context is similar: suffering people who are struggling to understand where God is in the midst of their ruin. What hope do they have when everywhere they look they see destruction and suffering?
That is the situation into which Isaiah’s words were initially addressed.
Watch these two 8-minute videos and you’ll see why Jason and other believers find hope for their situation from this ancient prophet. And why you can, too.
Part 1: Isaiah 1–39
Part 2: Isaiah 40–66
God is Here for You and So Am I
If you’re struggling, hurting, or questioning, I would love to come alongside you and offer you some hope and prayer.
If that sounds like something that would be helpful to you, select a time on my online calendar and we’ll have a short visit via phone or video chat. There is no cost for this call. I’m honored to have the opportunity to minister to you.
Don’t want to visit one-on-one but would still like to share and be prayed for? Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me via email or social media.
Now, if you just want to argue for the sake of arguing, I’d rather spend my time and energy on more productive causes ministering to those hurting or searching for a closer connection with God or more peace and purpose in their life. So, if you sincerely want to dialogue about legitimate questions and struggles, I’m here for you.
And I’m always happy to pray for and with you. Let me know how I can minister to you.
You can leave a comment by clicking here.
You Can Be There for Those in Need
Want to reflect God’s loving character to those who are hurting? You can join Making It Real Ministries, Main Street Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of Huffman, Texas in providing practical and needed resources and support to those in the Houston area impacted by Harvey. Just click the button or image below to learn more or to make a donation.