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An Anchor When We’re Afraid

I, even I, am he who comforts you. Isaiah 51:12

Are you a worrier? I am. I wrestle with anxiety almost daily. I worry about big things. I worry about small things. Sometimes, it seems like I worry about everything. Once in my teens, I called the police when my parents were four hours late getting home.

Scripture repeatedly tells us not to be afraid. Because of God’s goodness and power, and because He sent Jesus to die for us and His Holy Spirit to guide us, our fears don’t have to rule our lives. We may well face hard things, but God has promised to be with us through it all.

One passage that has helped me profoundly in fearful moments is Isaiah 51:12–16. Here, God reminded His people, who had endured tremendous suffering, that He was still with them, and that His comforting presence is the ultimate reality. No matter how bad things may seem: “I, even I, am he who comforts you,” He told them through the prophet Isaiah (v. 12).

I love that promise. Those eight words have been an emotion-steadying anchor for my soul. I’ve clung to this promise repeatedly when life has felt overwhelming, when my own “constant terror” (v. 13) has felt oppressive. Through this passage, God reminds me to lift my eyes from my fears and in faith and dependence to look to the One who “stretches out the heavens” (v. 13)—the One who promises to comfort us.

Lord, sometimes the struggles we face in life seem so big. But You are bigger. Help us to cling to Your promise of comfort in fearful moments and to experience Your loving provision as we trust You. 

God’s comforting presence is more powerful than our fears.


Isaiah is fond of using imagery to display distinct ideas that are sometimes complementary and sometimes contrasting. Today’s passage presents contrasting ideas. In offering comfort to the people of Israel, Isaiah paints a portrait that gives the reader a beautiful vision of who God is in comparison to those who were trying to harm them. Notice the contrasts in verses 12–15: Mortals are like grass, while God stretches out the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth; the oppressor who stirs up wrath is nothing compared to the God who stirs the sea. While these words are comforting—after all, God is the one who covers us with the shadow of His hand—it’s important to understand that they don’t simply bypass the struggles we face. Isaiah acknowledges there is in fact an oppressor, and that oppressor is full of wrath. But he encourages us to see our difficulties in light of who God is and what He can do.

What difficult situation do you need to view in comparison with God’s power?

J.R. Hudberg

By |2018-06-22T12:15:14-04:00July 12th, 2018|
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