I have a confession to make: I'm stressed! I know you find that hard to believe since I'm usually such a calm soul (I'd better stop lying, huh?). Seriously, the past few weeks have tapped into every amount of calm I have and exceeded it by leaps and bounds. Between my grandmother's illness and then passing, my husband's work schedule which is CRAZY this time of year, and getting ready for a massive book launch next week, I'm not sure if I'm coming or going. I'm tired. I'm frustrated at the things that are taking longer than they should and proving to be more difficult than I imagined. In a word, stressed!
But leave it to God to give me strength and comfort when I need it the most. In my Bible reading yesterday, I came across Isaiah 43:13. At first, I read through it--I'm sorry to say--only half paying attention. But when I reached the last phrase, I sat upright. What was that? What did you say, God? So I read it again and again and again. And then I smiled, snuggled back into the couch and breathed my first deep breath in days. I bet you're wondering what the verse said, aren't you? Good because I had every intention of telling you.
Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? - Isaiah 43:13
First off, God reminds us that before there was even time, He existed, which means that He created time. Day, night, the heavens, the earth, and all that's in them. He created it all with only the power of His words.
Then He goes on to say that no one can take anything from His hand. To me, that's an assurance of my salvation. No matter what else I may lose in this life, no one can pluck me out of my Father's hands. I'm saved, and nothing I do (or that anyone else does) will change that. That's enough right there to brighten your day, but believe it or not, it was the next part that got me.
I will work, and who shall let it? The word "let" here means "hinder." So, God is saying, "I'm working, and who's going to stop me?" Whoa!!!! Is my frantic worry over this book launch going to change the work that God is doing (and going to do) through the book? Nope. Are my stress and frenzied activity going to make one bit of difference in God's plan for me, my life and my ministry? Again, no. I can be tired, frustrated and anxious, or I can choose to be at peace. The results of God's work will be the same, only my state of health and mind will be at stake. My stress is only hurting me, not God's plan.
"But what about all the things that are going wrong? How can I help but be stressed in the midst of such situations?" That's what some of you are thinking, right? (Go ahead and admit it. I was thinking it too after I allowed the message of the verse to sink in.) To answer your questions, I take you back to the beginning of the verse. We're talking about the God who spoke and everything popped into existence. The God who created something out of nothing. The God whose plan was so detailed and full of variety that we now live in a world of wonders. What are our problems to Him? The God who brought down a giant with a stone, the walls of Jericho with a shout, and the barrier between Himself and man with His own Son. Is there anything He can't handle? Are our problems a surprise to Him?
Think about it, not only can my stress and worry not hinder God's plan, but neither can the problems in my life hinder His work. God is working, and nothing can stop it. So, we might as well calm our nerves and dust off our hymnbooks of praise. God is saying, "You do what I've asked you to do, then leave the rest to me. I'll take care of it, and when I say I'll take care of it, I mean it."
Now, everyone, join me in a nice deep breath. God's got this. No matter what we're facing today, He is working, and nothing will hinder that work. Trust in His plan. Trust His heart. And don't fret about it. It's really not worth it!