The One Who Delivers
Now, this is what the Lord says, the one who created you, O Jacob, and formed you, O Israel:
"Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you, I call you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I am with you; when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your deliverer." Isaiah 43:1-3a NET
I need a Deliverer! No, not the UPS or FedEx-type of deliverer, although I did enjoy receiving packages of food this week as Christmas gifts! I could also use someone who can deliver health back to my car and deliver me from being physically stranded! I spent the weekend unable to attend a family Christmas gathering or attend various church outdoor nativities that I had scheduled, and I am missing the funeral of a dear saint this Monday morning. Those types of deliverance would certainly be helpful!
But, I need even deeper deliverance. I need a Deliverer of the heart and spirit that will take me beyond the self-centered focus of temporary afflictions. I need a Deliverer that can help me grasp the wonder of life. A Deliverer was promised in Isaiah 43, one who will be with me and walk with me and carry me through all the storms of life, whether a pandemic of coronavirus or poverty or racism or plans upstaged by a broken-down car. I love the song:
I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
That Jesus my Savior did come for to die.
For poor on'ry people like you and like I
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.
As we wonder through the joys and pitfalls of life, may we trust in the One who ultimately delivers and is also immediately with us in all the circumstances of our lives. May we not be afraid because our God knows us by name and is with us! Emmanuel. Christmas celebration is a fulfillment of God’s promise of deliverance. Matthew 1:21 states, "She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." Deliverance/salvation is the gift of God, Emmanuel, the One who is with us! Be not afraid!
Gracious God, our deliverer, we give you thanks for the Christmas gift of Jesus that demonstrates your desire to be with us. You know our lives and our hearts and the multiple ways that we need deliverance in our lives. We offer ourselves to you. Come, Lord Jesus, come. Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.