“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt to the Babylonians for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for your release. Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for your life.” (Isaiah 43:2-4)
There is an old song by Lynn Anderson called “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden.” That is exactly the way it is in the Christian way. The relationship we have with the Lord is going to bring resistance from Satan. There is no way around it. It is going to bring the hatred of evil people. The closer we draw to the Holy One of Israel–Jesus Christ, the more resistance we are going to encounter. The key word here is “when.” When you pass through the waters and when you walk through the fire. The Bible says in James 1:2 “Consider is wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.” Every trial is part of the proving process. If you have ever baked a loaf of bread you know that the yeast in the bread has to “proof” before it can be baked and eaten. To get that perfect load of bread, the dough has to patiently wait for the yeast to do its work. And we all know there is nothing better than a slice of warm, freshly baked bread slathered with butter! It is well worth the wait.
The promise here is that no matter how hard and fiery the trial is, He will always be with us in it. We walk through it, not around it. Sometimes there is no way around situations; you just have to set your face like a flint, trust God and walk straight through it. But what about all the Christians around the world who are being slaughtered by Islamic terrorists like ISIS? It doesn’t look like Jesus was with them when their heads were being severed. Oh but He was with them! The Bible says that “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” The ultimate gift to the Lord is our lives unto death. The victory over Satan is not this earthly time–its eternity. We are eternally alive! Each one of our brethren who have been martyred for Jesus’ sake, have a special place of honor in heaven. Jesus was martyred for righteousness sake, all His disciples except John were martyred for Jesus and they simply couldn’t kill John! It’s not like they didn’t try. Down through the ages, Christians have given Jesus the ultimate gift–their very lives. Oh yes, He was with them.
When someone would rather die than give up Jesus–that’s love. When He becomes that Pearl of great that we refuse to give up; that brings such glory and honor to Him. It truly is the sweetest aroma to God. Father, help us all to treasure our relationship with You this much. Let it be that Pearl of great price in each one of us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen.