The teachings of the Bible are a great source of guidance for me. Over this last year in particular, when I pray for God’s protection and comfort, the words of scripture are brought back to my mind again and again.
In the book of Isaiah, a people who have been beset by a great calamity and circumstances are reassured of God’s eternal care through these words:
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
—Isaiah 41:10, NKJV
The verse starts with a command: “Fear not.” Immediately the reason for the command is explained—“I am with you.” There is great strength in knowing that we are not alone. Awareness of God’s presence in our lives enables us to develop discernment and understanding of our circumstances.
“Be not dismayed, for I am your God” is the next phrase. The word dismayed can also be translated “distressed” and literally means “looking around with worry or concern.” When we know the God that we serve—the great love of the One in whom we live and have life, there is relief from anxiety and dismay.
“I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you.” In healthcare we know the importance of the strength that comes from within—the muscular energy and stamina that every person has and can develop. We also know the importance of connecting with the aid or help of others—those who can help us heal, recover, and grow.
Ultimately, a sense of well-being includes knowing and being able to depend on our own internal strength, while cultivating strong connections with the external relationships and resources that help us achieve our life goals. This is precisely what God offers us—the divine initiative to strengthen our spirit and to help us.
“I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” What a great phrase—“righteous right hand.” In three words we sense power, integrity, justice, and strength. Even though we no longer shake hands with one another, we still hold up our right hands when we pledge to be honest and truthful. It is a symbol of resourcefulness and power.
But in this verse, God goes beyond the strengths that humans, even at their best, offer to one another. God brings the righteous right hand to the situation. Righteousness is a quality reserved for the divine; it is godly power and justice that is offered to the children of a loving and powerful God. God upholds us in righteousness. This is God’s eternal purpose and commitment to us—expressed in power and grace.
I am praying for you this week. I am praying that in Adventist HealthCare, as we seek to extend God’s care through the ministry of physical, mental, and spiritual healing, you will know that God is with you, that you will be strengthened by God’s presence. I am praying that you will connect in a powerful way with the resources of God’s love and grace. And I am praying that you will know God as one who is with you, beside you, and will uphold you, each and every day.