Monday, May 19, 2014

If you feel stranded and your next of kin

If you live in the Northeast Georgia area, I'll be signing copies of Home to Currahee at the Carpenter's Shop in Athens this Friday, May 23, from 4-6. Would love to see you there.
In my daily Bible reading, I come across these words in Isaiah 63:

In all their distress he too was distressed,
    and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
    he lifted them up and carried them
    all the days of old.”

A date, 5-22-00, is written beside these verses.

Even when I get another Bible, I go through the old one and transfer dates like this to the new one, so that I don’t ever forget how God moved in a particular situation.

In this instance, that May date was just three days after I was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, I had questions like, “Has the cancer already spread like a wildfire?” and “Who would take care of my children?” They were only seven and eight. I felt a bit stranded in my suffering.

However, the message God sent through the prophet Isaiah, was that God felt my pain and was carrying me.

“In all their troubles,
    he was troubled, too.
He didn’t send someone else to help them.
    He did it himself, in person.
Out of his own love and pity
    he redeemed them.
He rescued them and carried them along
    for a long, long time.”

We often speak of God as a personal God, because we can know Him, have a relationship with Him. He is also personal to us, in that when we are suffering, He is with us. Really with us. An element of the meaning of “redeemed” in these verses has in the original Hebrew to do with acting as a “kinsman, do the part of next of kin, act as kinsman-redeemer.” He doesn’t send someone else, but as our “next of kin” and by the presence of his Spirit, He comes alongside to comfort, rescue, and carry us.

God has carried me now a long, long time.

Fourteen years after I penned that date in my Bible, I read these verses in Isaiah while dealing with another heartache. One that caused me to cry out to God day after day, and left me feeling helpless. But, I’m reminded I have every reason to believe God’s dealings will follow the same path as before. He feels my pain. He comes in person. Out of mercy, he redeems and rescues. He’s willing to go the distance. As my next of kin, He won’t leave me stranded halfway out in the lake without a paddle to get home.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, in the middle of a vast body of water, hurting, scared, and seemingly alone, remember Isaiah’s words and take comfort. He’s your next of kin, too, and he won’t leave you stranded.



Anonymous said...

Beautifully said Beverly, thank you. I needed that reminder today. Praying God comes through in a mighty way for you.

Beverly Varnado said...

Beth, He is faithful, isn't He? Many thanks.


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