“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.”
Isaiah 41:10 (The Message)
God promised His watch care and love to the Israelites despite their infidelity, especially when they were threatened by foreign adversaries. His followers today are under the same protection and have the same opportunity to fellowship with their Creator. Our uncertain paths can become crystal clear if we walk in His glory… ”if’ being a mighty big order when our sight is dimmed by the insecurities of the world.
After being laid off in March, I began doing consulting work while looking for a new full-time job. New clients continued to seek me out while employers did not. In late November, my wife and I decided that the result from the latest interview would determine if I kept up an intensive job search or focused on the new career path. Meanwhile, I was wearing out our home computer and needed a laptop to work with clients at their locations. Much research followed and the exact type was determined. We were capable of making the purchase but I consistently hesitated, deferring to my fears about an uncertain financial future. Work remained steady but so was my reluctance to “buy in” to my self-employment.
The Thanksgiving Day newspaper was full of circulars for the sales to follow on Black Friday. In one was an ad for the exact laptop I wanted, with a tremendous rebate. We drove past the store Thursday evening after seeing our family and a long line had already circled around the side of the building. Surely the early crowd that camped out would snap up the bargain, so I said I would check the store out later in the day. If any were left, it would be the right sign for me to buy. My youngest son went with me to find a full parking lot and check-out lines stretching far back into the store. I sighed in relief at the crowd, knowing I would be too late and I could avoid the purchase. But in the computer department was a full display of the model in question! The relief became resignation as I picked the laptop up and we began the long wait to check-out.
On the way home, I stopped by the mailbox to find a letter from the firm where I last interviewed. While they were impressed with my qualifications and experience, a better suited candidate was selected. Had I waited for this confirmation, I may have missed the opportunity to invest in and strengthen my work, an opportunity to recognize that regardless of all I think I know, I am not in control.
As He did for the Israelites, God has provided for me time and time again. Yet all I saw was the potential for complete failure if the work dried up… we would need the funds spent on the laptop to survive! There was no evidence for my perception, just the unwarranted fear. Mark Twain summed up my condition well: “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
Just when I think I am holding on to His promises, I realize what Isaiah said is all true: “Don’t panic.” So many times, when I feel I am standing on my own, the Truth is that He is holding me steady, keeping a firm grip on me!