I could hear the wind and rain pounding on the bedroom window as I sank deeper into the blankets. The weather was just plain miserable, but here I was, all cozied up and ready to sip my sleepy tea and drift off into a comfortable sleep.
But sleep wasn’t gonna happen right away. It wasn’t the rain or the wind. And I was certainly tired from the day. My mind wouldn’t shut down. There was a particular circumstance that I was struggling to resolve. It’s one of those that gives off this low-grade anxiety vibe as it rattles around inside my primarily empty head. Much of said anxiety stems from fear of what could happen. It’s like I develop identity amnesia – like I temporarily forget who I am and Who I belong to.
Isaiah records God’s words to His people in chapter 51. Three different times, God says a variation of “Listen to me.”
Verse 1: Listen to Me…
Verse 4: Pay attention to Me…
Verse 7: Listen to Me…
Think God’s trying to get their attention? Yep! Yours and mine as well.
In this chapter, God is trying to remind His people of who they are and Who He is! God’s saying,
“Hey! Remember Me? I’m the God who’s delivered in the past, look to my faithfulness there. Remember how I created the ENTIRE UNIVERSE? It’s still under my control. I’ve got this!”
He’s trying to remind them. They’ve developed identity amnesia. They’ve forgotten (albeit temporarily) what their identity is in God.
Then comes verses 12 and 13
Isaiah 51:12-13 I, I Myself, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of mortal man, And of a son of man who is made like grass, That you have forgotten the LORD your Maker…
In moments where comfort should be present, and peace should rule yet are elusive, chances are you’re experiencing identity amnesia. Don’t beat yourself up over it. We’ve all been there. God’s words to His people in Isaiah’s time are proof of that! We get in the middle of a health, family, job, relational, or financial situation, and they seem to jump out of the dark closet like the boogeyman when we were kids, inciting fear, even low-grade fear, that causes identity amnesia. Yet God says…
I, I Myself, am He who comforts you
He doesn’t make the situation go away. That would be irresponsible of God to do so. Instead, He uses them when we give Him permission to help us grow our faith in Him. I’ve said it many times like this: we have a faith meter inside. And each time we respond in faith, trusting in God, that meter ticks up a little, and we grow.
So, instead of God taking away the circumstance, He uses it. But we have to remember our identity. We have to remember who He is. He is the one who comforts. Yes, we can get comfort from a warm, cozy bed and a cup of sleepy tea. But those won’t bring the comfort God is referring to here. This comfort rules and results when faith in God moves us toward God, and God faithfully works in us and through us because of our faith.
The circumstance I spoke of earlier is still present. But there’s something different now. I’m comforted. The God that “stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth” (end of verse 13) is the One who comforts me, and I belong to Him. And so do you!
You are loved!