But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
– Isaiah 43:1-4
The force of water is a force to be reckoned with. It can capsize cruise ships. It can devastate towns. It can destroy homes. It can push a person down so far that they cannot get up. The image used here by Isaiah is strong and evocative. The sea and waves occupy a special place of anxiety in the times of Isaiah.
You may recall the dramatic scene in the movie Titanic, when as the ship was sinking, the priest remained onboard and was reading from Revelation 21:1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” The impact of “the sea was no more” became so very clear to me in that movie scene. The sea is a raging force not easily tamed.
But God tames the sea. He reminds Job, “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb?” (Job 38:8). The implied answer: God. The Psalm says, “You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them” (Psalm 89:9). Jesus walked on water and stilled the storm at sea. God tames the sea. He rules the waters. He sets their boundaries.
Whether fighting the onslaught of a flash flood, the relentless rising water of a 56″ downpour, or the mighty waves at the break of the ocean shore, we stand no chance of stopping the waves and waters.
It seems the same is true of our tiny foe these days: the COVID-19 virus. Small, but powerful. Incipient and relentless. This little thing has a hold on us we cannot seem to escape. But God is over the waters and the viruses. He will have the final word.
His word to us in the meantime is, “Fear not.” As we wait we do so knowing he is with us. We do so believing that he loves us. We wait, hope and trust in him because he his shown himself faithful, trustworthy, good, and true. What’s more, he loves us. That’s an honor and status I do not want to live without!
So we pray…
Heavenly Father, we turn, not panic, in response to this pandemic. We praise You as our Almighty Creator and sustainer. You are the Author of our days, our refuge and strength.
Please incline our ears to truth and give us steadfast hearts as our confidence is in You. Give us discernment to divide rumor from reality, and help us to make wise decisions and listen to good information.
For all hospital and nursing home staff, doctors, nurses lab technicians, first responders, military personnel, and everyone who is at risk to exposure as they serve and care for those who are or may have been infected. Please protect them and give them and their families peace as they serve. Help them keep patients calm as they work and walk in faith in You.
Deliver us from this disease, we pray, and let your glory fill the earth as you respond to our prayers. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
– From the National Day of Prayer Committee