Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Isaiah 43:1-7 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Restoration and Protection Promised
43 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[a] 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.”
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Our names are personal. They are extensions of ourselves. They not only identify us to others, but they take on our own identity and we wrap ourselves in them. Of all the words we hear spoken in love or rejection, in support or in opposition, in joy or in sorrow, in kindness or in bitterness, none has the power of our name. Think of it. To hear, “I’m so glad to see you!” spoken with your name has more power than the sentiment alone. To hear, “Oh, I have missed you so much!” spoken with your name has more power than the words alone. And our name sounds especially sweet on the lips of someone who loves us.
In the these words from Isaiah, God is speaking comfort to God’s people. The word of the Lord for the people is “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” The understanding of God is that God is personal.
In the gospel of John, Jesus speaks in that personal way, as well. In describing a good shepherd Jesus points out that the sheep know his voice and the shepherd knows the sheep by name. Then, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.” (John 10:14)
Here’s the good news: God knows you. God loves you. God is present with you—no matter what you face.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster