Strength and Song

Strength and Song

I feel like I’m in training.

Faith training.  It’s an exercise in trust building.

Some days are better than others.

This is not one of the better days.  I am up, way too early, mind racing. So, hours before dawn, I am baking muffins – taking advantage of over-ripe bananas – because I’m finding that providing food for my wife and daughter is a way to feel like I have some control over this situation.

The empty shelves in stores tell me that others are also finding comfort in provisions.  For many, a full freezer gives more than a guarantee of meals.  It gives a footing for a sense of well-being.  It’s how they can tell themselves they will be okay.  It will save them from lean times ahead.

Not surprisingly, Isaiah – who seems to be speaking directly to me about this pandemic – has a powerful counterpoint about where to turn for saving help.

             “Behold, God is my salvation;
                        I will trust, and will not be afraid;
              for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,
                       and he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)

The commentator I am reading, J. Alec Motyer, breaks down the “four characteristics of the saved.”  The Hebrew for trust focuses on the security of the standing we enter into through faith.  Then, as 1 John 4:18 tells us, “perfect love casts out all fear.”  So, we are not afraid.

Getting to the heart of the matter, though, what is this object of our faith that gives us such a sure standing?

The LORD GOD.  It’s an interesting double name: literally Yah Yawheh, repeated for emotional emphasis and perhaps referring to his unchanging nature.  From him we receive both strength -- the power to meet the challenges we face -- and a song, flowing out of rising joy.

This is what I’m working on.  My faith must not be misplaced. I am encouraged that God both is and has become the writer’s salvation.  What is eternally true can, through practice, become experientially real.  This global time of uncertainty is a good training ground for faith.

And the true test the source of our salvation is what it produces: fear or joy.  A full freezer only sustains contentment until it empties.

The well of salvation (Is. 12:3) never runs dry.

Jesus is the name that charms us;
He for conflict fits and arms us;
Nothing moves and nothing harms us
When we trust in Him.

Trust in Him, ye saints, forever;
He is faithful, changing never;
Neither force nor guile can sever
Those He loves from Him.

Lord, God, forgive for our inconsistent faith.  Forgive our false sources of security.  We will stand secure because of the saving work of your Son.  With joy, we draw water from that well of salvation.  You are our strength and song!

Reader:  How are you exercising your faith during this trying time?

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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.