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God Comes Down

By Elizabeth Reppard

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. when you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

Most of 2022 has been difficult to navigate—a season marked by loss. I experienced what felt like a death of a dream that left me forlorn and discouraged. We lost three family members in the first months of the new year, and then, my beloved grandmother. It left me wondering—not from a vantage point of unbelief—but rather wondering by faith. God holds all things together by the power of his Word, and nothing is out of his control. He has good things planned for me and has compassion on all he has made. So what does he have for me in this season? What does he want to show me?

I admit questions remain. I have not seen, nor do I understand everything about this season. But just as he promised, he is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. He is, in fact, “Emmanuel,” God with us.

Recently, I shared with a friend that while I pray earnestly for others throughout the day, my prayers for myself are simply saying the name of Jesus with open hands. I don’t understand his ways or know all his thoughts, but I do believe that they are higher and better.

In a dark season of the soul many years ago, I clung to Isaiah 43:2 as a passage of hope. While it was written to God's people in a different time and place, its message remains true for the people of God today. “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.” It has been years since then, but I’m a living example of someone who didn’t drown in the deep waters because he was with me. I’ve found he will go to any length to draw us to him.

As C.S. Lewis once wrote, “God...comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still...down to the very roots and seabed of the nature he created. But he goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with him.”

Lewis equates God to a diver going into cold black water, down through intense pressure, into a deathlike, isolating place; then up again, back to color and light. When he surfaces again, he’s holding the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover. Us.

In all we feel, don’t understand, hope for, and delight in, remember God is with you, and he is for you. Let that sink in.

• What in your life holds you back from drawing near to God?

• What feels like it’s too deep or desperate of a need for him to draw close to?

• How can you trust this truth the most deeply today?

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