God Is

Day 20

He’s There In Deep Waters

Read your Bible: Isaiah 43:1–5

Spotlight Verse:

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.Isaiah 43:2a NLT

Deep waters. When I read those words in today’s Bible verse, I think of my friend Phil’s sister Kathy.

She was on a sailboat off the coast of Santa Cruz Island near Santa Barbara, California, when huge swells capsized the boat and knocked her into the water.

She was lost at sea. Clinging to one small square seat cushion.

The U.S. Coast Guard sent a ship and a helicopter to look for her. She could see the helicopter circling above, but the crew couldn’t see her.

An hour went by. Then six, seven, eight hours. And finally, at midnight, the search for Kathy was called off. They phoned her brother, my friend Phil. He still calls it “The night Kathy died.” The caller told him, “No one can survive in these waters for this long. We are now looking for a body, not a survivor.”

When I talked to Kathy about what happened next, she began to cry as she remembered, “The presence of God was so real to me — it was like God was right there with me.”

Kathy told me, “I almost felt cheated when I was rescued. I was praying, singing hymns… first I panicked, but then the peace of God took over.”

In the Deep

Notice in today’s reading, God never says you won’t go through deep water and great troubles.

What’s the promise?

When you do, I will be with you.

Maybe you’re going through deep rivers right now. You can relate to Kathy: You feel like you’re treading water, your feet can’t touch bottom, all you can see all around you is the deep blue sea. None of us can predict the problems we’ll face in life, or how they’ll end. But of this you can be certain: God’s going through it with you.

God Is Where?

Josh McDowell put a long word on the screen during one of his lectures. I was puzzled as I read it:


Josh let us try to figure it out for a minute. Then he asked, “What does that say?” Most people answered, “God is nowhere.” But as Josh pointed out, you can just as easily read, “God is now here.”39

It’s all about keeping those eyes wide open. When you pray and it seems like nothing is happening, you might be tempted to conclude, “God is nowhere.”

But that’s not when God leaves. That’s when God takes over. So relax, knowing you’re always in the palm of His hand.

How was Kathy rescued?

When the Coast Guard called off the search and turned to go back to port, they literally bumped right into her. The bow of the ship almost ran her over, and she slapped weakly on the hull as the ship went past. A crew member thought he heard something and yelled for a full stop.

When they finally hoisted her on board, they asked, “Who are you?”

She said, “Well, I guess I’m the one you’ve been looking for!”

And Kathy tells me one crew member then exclaimed, “Wow! I’ve never actually found anyone before!”

The God of Closeness

Kathy’s rescue seems miraculous. But she told me, “René, the greatest miracle of the night by far was God’s amazing closeness to me.”

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you…

What I love about today’s passage is that it contains so many awe-inspiring attributes of God that we’ve looked at already in this study: It reminds me that He’s Holy, the Lord, the Creator… yet the predominant promise is about His closeness. He wants me to hear, “Fear not… you are mine… I have redeemed you… I will be with you.”

You could say He is the God of eternal intimacy.

Eternal Intimacy

You see this in the Trinity.

See, God is all about relationship, closeness, intimacy, love. But could those attributes simply go unexpressed for inconceivable stretches of time before anything was created? If there was a time when He had no one to love or be close to, then how can we say His presence and intimacy and love are eternal attributes?

That is why, to me, it makes sense that there is the Trinity. One God, three Persons. So that even before anything else existed, the attributes of God were always being expressed perfectly within the godhead. There was relationship, intimacy, love, omniscience, presence, all right there, in ages past.

And you see the Trinity in the plan of redemption.

Intensifying Intimacy

The Father’s plans from before creation are all about diminishing the distance between us and God. He reveals Himself in creation and through Scripture…

Then the Son comes to Earth and walks among us and dies for us so that the alienation between man and God would end….

Then the Holy Spirit is sent to walk with and within us every moment, guiding, teaching, sanctifying…

And the Father’s plans are fulfilled when one day heaven and earth are one, the dwelling of God is with men, and there is no longer even need for a temple because God is with us.

The intimacy keeps intensifying.

It all means that there is hope for the future. And help for the present.

No matter what mess you find yourself in, whether it’s your fault or not, whether others are aware of it or not…

God is… with me and within me.

Questions For Reflection

What is promised in Isaiah 43:1–5?

What is not promised?

What “waters, rivers, fires,” as Isaiah 43:1–5 puts it, have you gone through during which an awareness of God’s presence made a difference for you?

What “waters, rivers, fires” are you passing through now?

Thank God for His presence there with you, right now. Throughout the day, remind yourself again: “The Lord is in this place!”