The following is a YouVersion plan written by the Billy Graham Center. To participate with this plan on YouVersion, download the app, create an account and click on the link here to participate:
Don’t forget to share your comments and takeaways every day!
Many of us have heard the concept of the “upside-down kingdom.” Often, this is referencing key truths such as the weak will be made strong and the humble will be raised up, and vice versa. Whereas the world loves those who are powerful and successful, God’s eye is on the marginalized, the widow, the poor, the powerless. His eye is on the sparrow—that which is utterly dependent upon him.
Isaiah 41:13, however, teaches us another way in which God’s kingdom is upside down: “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,’ declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel” (italics for emphasis).
God reaches down to take our hand and whisper words of comfort. We don’t just lift up our hands. He first reaches down. This is akin to the idea of a parent holding a child’s hand while they cross the street. Although the child is holding on, who is doing all the work? The parent. This is true with us as well. As we go through difficult seasons of life, we must not run away from God. We must reach out to him and hold on as best we can to his big, strong hand. But don’t be deceived. It is God who is doing all the work.
We go through life thinking that we have to reach out to God and that we have to do better and be better for him to hear us and to help us. The better we are, we muse, the more God will love us.
This, of course, is anathema and goes counter to the very message of the cross. Romans 5 in fact tells us that even when we were sinners, Christ died for us.
Sometimes, the first step in walking through tragedy and trauma isn’t about us at all or anything we do. Sometimes, the first step is to simply close our eyes and to consider what it means that God is taking hold of our right hand. Our powerful, omniscient, all-knowing God calls to us, “I’ve got you. Do not fear.” Only then do we grab back, believing that he will never let go, in good times and in bad.
What are the implications for you as you consider the fact that God reaches out to comfort you even before you are reaching out to him?
How can you offer this truth to those around you today?