The Upper Room Devotion for Thursday, October 12, 2023, was written by Deborah Manera of Ontario, Canada.
1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, 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, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. 5 Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; 6 I will say to the north, “Give them up,”
and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth — 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Isaiah 43:1-7 NRSV
I am a bit worried about my memory. Yesterday I left my credit card at a store. Then I tried to replace an incorrectly sized item that I had purchased a couple of days before, only to realize when I got home that I repurchased the exact same thing. Then today, I left my cell phone in the lobby while picking up the mail. Thankfully someone returned it! My forgetfulness, reminds me how wonderful it is to know that God doesn't forget us. God doesn't misplace us or leave us unattended. God knows exactly where we are and what we need.
God also tells us not to fear. Fear can be crippling, but we are reminded that if we have received the gift of salvation, we are redeemed. God knows us and our circomstances, so we do not need to fear. We can have faith that God will give us what we need. When we are focused on ourselves and our current situation, it's easy to forget past blessings and fear the future. But God reminds us to keep our faith focused on the One who will not forget us.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
I cannot remember who coined the phrase "fear and faith are opposite sides of the same coin," but the sentiment is true. Fear and faith are both powerful motivators. In truth, fear requires less of us than faith. Fear allows us to be irrational, to eliminate critical thinking and holdfast to simplistic solutions for complex issues. In contrast, faith requires us to pause and consider God's will, the impact of our actions, and to holdfast to hope, joy, and peace amidst our complex realities. May we strive each day to, paraphrasing 2 Corinthians 5:7 NRSV, "walk by Faith and not by Fear!"
Dear God, thank you for never forgetting who we are and what we need. Help us not to live in fear but in faith. Amen.