43 But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
This classic, beautiful statement by God to His beloved Israel is a clear reminder to us that when God allows us to go through deep waters He will be with us in it, and that He will not allow those deep waters to overcome us.
But we might say, “that applies to Israel, and not me”. He repeats the same sentiment toward believers in Romans 8:28-39 when He says that nothing can separate us from His love.
Our particular “waters” might be intense and short, or could be the long term dripping of a contentious person that we cannot avoid. While we may wish for a smooth, problem-free life, God in His love and wisdom knows that our eternal benefit requires refining. Isaiah 43:3 says “when” you walk through the fire, not “if”. The purpose of the fire is not to burn us, but to test and refine what is in our hearts and to prove our faith.
1 Peter 1:3-9
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the Lord tests hearts.
8 “It will come about in all the land,”
Declares the Lord,
“That two parts in it will be cut off and perish;
But the third will be left in it.
9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire,
Refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are My people,’
And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
He will be with us through it all, with His nearness as our ultimate good in and through our difficulties
28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.