When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
It’s funny how we can look at a verse all wrong for most of our lives and then one day see it so differently. So clearly, the way He intended us to understand it.
The Best Part
For years, I’ve seen this verse only for its “I will be with you” theme. And that’s the best part. Really the only part that matters. But even the main thing, out of context, can be understood the wrong way. Here’s what I focused on.
When you….I WILL BE WITH YOU; and when you….THEY WILL NOT SWEEP OVER YOU. When you….YOU WILL NOT BE BURNED; THE FLAMES WILL NOT SET YOU ABLAZE.
I imagine you can see my point here. I ignored what WAS happening to “you” all the way through the verse. Sure, no death! But, um, did any one notice all the yada yada yada I skipped over?
The Hard Part
Let’s look at it without all the good stuff (which is, again, the main thing).
When you pass through the waters….when you pass through the rivers….When you walk THROUGH the fire….THE FLAMES….
Now, I’m just assuming that “pass through” does not mean “go wading in” or “take a walk beside.” No, I’m pretty sure “pass through” means to be walking along beside the sea when you are shoved in – and it’s waaaaay over your head.
Believe it or not, I nearly drowned twice as a kid. Once, I fell (ran without looking) into a moat around an old fort that backed up to a swamp. The other time, I fell into a frozen fountain in winter (I was dancing – I was five). The reason I tell this is because I understand a little of what “pass through the waters” means.
I can still see the bubbles around me. Feel the crush of fear and breathlessness inside my chest. I remember the sting of the water against my eyes. It was sheer terror.
Obviously, I wasn’t drowned, and I did indeed “pass through the waters.” But it made an impact on me. I know without a doubt that my heavenly Father lifted me from the waters as clearly as I remember my earthly father’s hands holding me close and drying me with his shirt.
I am grateful to have never endured a real fire. But I have endured spiritual fire. Emotional fire. Trials I thought would break me, until one day I looked up and found I had made it through.
The painful parts have faded mostly. But the Truth I learned remains. And that’s the whole point – learning to trust Him. Proving Him faithful to you – when you are the most helpless.
You WILL pass through the waters. You WILL walk through the fire. Make no mistake about it. But the main thing remains the main thing.
He will be with you. You will not drown. You will not be burned.
But it never says it won’t feel like it.
Let me encourage you to persevere to the end. He will lift you up. You will be saved. You just have to trust Him. Believe me, He’s the only thing worthy of real faith. I know.