Under the Influence
When was the last time you felt like you were alone? When was the last time you felt like you were being swallowed up by a giant wave? Have you ever felt like you were, as the well-known psalm says, walking “through the valley of the shadow of death?”
If we’re honest with each other, we know that we all have felt this way at times. Sickness, accident, job loss, financial reversal, death, crimes against us, and many other trials have come the way of us all. Some of us seem to handle these situations better than others. Some of us have had fewer of these issues; others of us seem to have had more than our share. And some of us just seem to go from one crisis to another in a never-ending cycle of trial.
God tells his people Israel through Isaiah the prophet these words. “Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 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. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
God doesn’t promise Israel that He will remove the trials of life from them. He doesn’t promise that they won’t have to deal with the realities of life and living in a fallen world. He does promise, however, that he will be with them when they go through those trials. He says that when they encounter the trials of life, they are to remember that He has redeemed them and called them by name. He specifically tells them that they belong to Him.
Ken Davis has a video out that talks about being “under the influence.” Only he isn’t talking about those things we normally think of when we think of that phrase. He’s talking about being under the influence of God’s love, God’s compassion, and God’s grace. He talks about how our recognition of that reality brings change to our lives as we become “fully alive” in love and service. And that when those trials come; when we find ourselves walking through the valley of the shadow of death, we also find that because we are under the influence of the God of the universe, He is there every step of the way…walking with us as we navigate life’s travails.
And we have the promise that one day we will no longer have to deal with the fallout in this creation caused by sin. We will indeed realize the hope that we now see by faith. And that, dear one, makes it all worthwhile.