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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers

Sea of Distress

During our lifetime, we will encounter stormy seas. Isaiah wrote (43:2ff): “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. …You are precious in My sight, since you are honored and I love you. …I am the Lord who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters. …In order that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He.” This rich passage unfolds several truths for us that will help us in difficulty.

1. We will pass through “seas of distress” (Zech. 10:11) which are inevitably part of our human experience of suffering. We may be dismayed for a season, but if we will accept our suffering, we will find rich treasures in the times of distress.

2. He promises He is with us, will always be with us. His presence is our sure companion and our certain help. We have Emmanuel, God with us at all times. Remembering and practicing His presence, while giving thanks and worshipping during our seasons of pain keep us fixed on this greater reality.

3. We won’t be overtaken by them. We may feel like the waters are coming up over our heads and overwhelming us, but we find He keeps us and we do not drown. There is grace for such a season and we will pass through the waters as He brings us out of our distresses (Ps. 25:17).

4. We are the beloved, the ones He honors and keeps. How blessed we are that He has chosen us as His own, that He knows us by name and loves us dearly. No hardship of any kind can separate us from this love (Rom 8:35-38). He has called us to be more than conquerors.

5. He makes a way through. He takes our desperate situations, making a way for us to flourish, while turning it for His glory. He “entices us from the mouth of distress” and brings us to a broad place (Job. 36:15) full of fruitfulness. He can make the “depths of the sea” a pathway for the redeemed to cross over. (Isa. 51:10)

6. These distresses are to point us to the One we can rely on, and to deepen our trust and understanding of Him. Knowing Him, having Him walk with us in our sea of distress, is our greatest treasure. In experience after experience, we find He is faithful, and these experiences bind us to Him more deeply, keeping us constant in our trust.

We must remember that the distress is for a season and need not name and define us! Seasons change, and his faithfulness wonderfully remains.

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