March 22, 2017
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Just Passing Through might be said by a traveler who had just stopped for a quick visit, but not to stay. But it can apply to so much more. I think you might be able to see how in this Scripture, Isaiah 43:1 through 3:
But now, thus says the LORD, who created you…and He who formed
you…“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your
name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with
you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you
walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame
scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel,
Here, God shows us two major situations in which we are Just Passing Through. But then He divides each in two to better teach us what we need to learn about them. Here is the first of them:
• Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters…and through the rivers….” Yes, we all go through the waters and the rivers at times. I have been there three times, literally!
✞ Once when I was two, the family was at a beach. I waded out into the water just past waist deep. Suddenly my top-heavy toddler self just flipped upside down! My six-year-old brother came to my rescue and got my head above water until my mother sloshed out to retrieve me. But I was under water long enough to be really scared, and to have it burned into my memory!
✞ I climbed into the bathtub when I was around 13 years old. The light in the bathroom was not working, and my mother had temporarily put a bedside lamp there. I somehow did not even notice that lamp was sitting on the edge of the tub! As I settled into the water, I brought my elbow back and knocked in the plugged-in lamp! I remember later saying, “It felt like I was taking a bath is very strong ginger ale!” Again, the same brother rushed in and unplugged the lamp! Later, when I was studying electronics in the Air Force, I learned about the resistence of wet skin and the force of 110 volt house current. I had 60 times the amount of electricity going through my body that should have killed me!
✞ Over thirty years ago my buddy Bob and I decided to swim across the Lackawanna River near Scranton. It was only a hundred fifty yards wide, and I am a pretty good swimmer. His son Rob and Rob’s girlfriend Doreen decided to swim with us. We had no problem for the first hundred yards. But then we hit the deep part of the river with its very swift current! Bob and Rob were swept downstream! Doreen (a very strong swimmer) was ahead of me, and I was struggling! I shouted to her, “Doreen, I am in trouble! ” She shouted back, “So am I! ” I was worn out, but started treading water, waving frantically to some fishermen in a ways away. Our wives, standing on the river’s edge, thought I was waving to them, and they waved back! I prayed, “Ok, Lord, it’s You and me!” And I started relaxing and side-stroking my way toward the opposite shore, fifty yards away. Doreen got there first, and we both had no energy left! A bit later, the fishermen in the boat came by, having rescued Bob and Rob who were being carried downstream. They picked us up and motored the way back to our wives. That’s about the closest I came to drowning, and I was so glad I was Just Passing through the experience, and not overcome by it! By the way, I have not been a great fan of me swimming ever since!
What do we need to learn from our experiences of Just Passing Through the water? Two things – one from God’s point of view, and one from ours:
✞ Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you….” As Jesus said in Hebrews 13:5 and Matthew 28:20: “I will never leave you nor forsake you….I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Yes, He was surely with me in each of my watery trials! Otherwise I probably would not have survived!
✞ Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass…through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.” I was not overcome by the waters! The river did not overflow me! Since God was there (here) for me, I came through the trial, and now can look back and see how temporary it was, even if it was scary at the time!
But what if I had not made it through those watery trials? I was – and am – still safe if my Lord Jesus’ arms! Don’t forget verse 1 of our featured Scripture: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” When, at 19 years of age, I called out to Jesus Christ to be my Savior, He redeemed me! (See John 5:24; Romans 10:9-13). And as the Lord told Moses in Exodus 33:17 (and it applies to all His children): “…you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” How well does He know us? The Lord even knows how many individual hairs are on your head! (See Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7 – see also Psalm 139:1-6). So even if I should die, it is as it says in Psalm 23:4: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Why? “For You are with me.” Jim Reeves sings in “This World Is Not My Home”:
This world is not my home I’m just a passing through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore
Yes, life is a variety of experiences – some painful, some wonderful and full of joy! But all come to an end – in one way or another! In that sense, we are Just Passing Through!