“They Shall Not Overwhelm You.”

I began a new prayer journey today. At the invitation of my Spiritual Director, I have become part of a group/community that will take this Ignatian journey together in the coming months. Each day I will have a set reading in my prayer time. My intention is that I will journal a response to the readings/prayer prompts.

Today’s reading is taken from Isaiah 43:1-7 and the prompt given me was to consider what images and words pop out for me in the reading, who God is for me, and to ask how God see’s me.

The words that popped for me in the reading of the text were the assurances in verse two:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you.

The specific words that caught my attention are those highlighted in bold and italic above.

The pandemic journey of the last 18 months has been one that has consistently felt both overwhelming and consuming. So much of life and work has changed dramatically during this time. Whether the image of difficulty is that of water or flames, the statement by the prophet that these times will not overwhelm and will not consume are encouragement for me and are food for my troubled soul.

When I reflect on who God is for me in light of this reading, I am going to say that God is my sustainer, that is to say I am sustained through this whole thing by God. I am quite convinced that without God’s grace and the sense of God’s call, I would have crumbled long ago. God has and continues to sustain me.

When I consider how God sees me in light of this text, I conclude that God sees me as His own – worthy of protecting, worthy of having been redeemed, worthy of sustaining. This was good news for me as I prayed and read this morning. It’s still good news as I journal tonight. I’m thankful.

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