My father-in-law turned seventy-eight recently, and during our family gathering to honor him, someone asked him, “What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your life so far?” His answer? “Hang in there.”
Hang in there. It might be tempting to dismiss those words as simplistic. But my father-in-law wasn’t promoting blind optimism or positive thinking. He’s endured tough things in his nearly eight decades. His determination to press on wasn’t grounded in some vague hope that things might get better, but in Christ’s work in his life.
“Hanging in there”—the Bible calls it perseverance—isn’t possible through mere willpower. We persevere because God promised, over and over, that He’s with us, that He’ll give us strength, and that He’ll accomplish His purposes in our lives. That’s the message He spoke to the Israelites through Isaiah: “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” (Isaiah 41:10).
What does it take to “hang in there”? According to Isaiah, the foundation for hope is God’s character. Knowing God’s goodness allows us to release our grip on fear so we can cling to the Father and His promise that He will provide what we need each day: strength, help, and God’s comforting, empowering, and upholding presence.
How have you experienced God’s provision for you in moments of fear? How can the support of other believers help you to hang on?
In the prophecies of Isaiah, chapters 1–39 are like an ever-darkening night anticipating a catastrophic consequence to Jerusalem’s love affair with idols (Isaiah 39:6–7). When the warnings come to pass, chapters 40–55 follow like a dawning light. According to the prophet, God would once again show His people the mercy He had shown Jacob—the lying, scheming father of their nation. He would call them from the streets of Babylon as He had led Abraham, the father of their faith, out of idolatrous Ur. In a way no one could have anticipated, He would rescue them by a foreign king who didn’t even know Him (45:1–13). Cyrus, king of Persia, would crush Babylon and offer the Jewish people their right of return. With words of hope and a hint of His greater plans for the world, He urges them not to be afraid of returning to Him (41:13).