Lenten Devotional: The Love of God, the Promise of Presence

When have you as a parent held your child on a stormy night and said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here.” Or, you said to your tearful teenager who called you after a fender bender, “Be calm. I’ll be right there.” Promises of presence can sooth a frightened heart.

I traveled to Russia soon after the Iron Curtain fell, and our first inquiry was, “Where is the American Embassy?” We knew if anything went askew the presence of our government would give us hope.

God does not abandon those he chooses. God’s covenant promise to the people of Israel did not end after they were captured and scattered to Babylon and beyond. During such desperate times God promised his presence and everlasting love through his prophet Isaiah. God told his chosen people not to fear or “look anxiously about” because he was with them. He would strengthen and help them. The metaphor of the Lord’s “righteous right hand” was an image of strength and hope that no matter the circumstances God would uphold his chosen ones.

Lent is a season of promise. Easter followed Good Friday as God promised, and the Holy Spirit’s promised presence strengthens God’s people today.

Isaiah 41:8-10

“But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    you descendants of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Questions for Reflection

What are you anxious about today? Offer those anxious thoughts to the Lord as a prayer.

Prayer

Oh God, who has chosen me in Christ Jesus as one of your own, I accept your promise of presence and trust you will uphold and strengthen me in these days. I will not “look anxiously about” because I know you are with me. I pray believing as Isaiah spoke…(read/memorize today’s verses as the rest of your prayer).

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