Psalm 107:26–29:
“Their soul melted away in their misery. They reeled and staggered like a
drunken man, and were at their wits’ end. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought
them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still.”

Isaiah 63:8–9: “For
He said, ‘Surely, they are my people.’ , , , So He became their Savior. In all
their affliction He was afflicted. . . . And He lifted them and carried them
all the days of old.”

Observation: These
verses reflect the depth of God’s commitment to His people as well as the
extent of their need for Him. The imagery is of men so consumed with fear that
they reeled and staggered as though drunk. Then in the depths of distress, when
the troughs between towering waves seemed deepest, He suddenly calmed the storm
and all was at peace. 

Isaiah opened an additional dimension of understanding when
he said that God Himself is afflicted with our afflictions. This statement goes
beyond describing a divine cheerleader who from a safe shore says, “I’ve been
through the same thing. I made it, and so can you!” No, in my affliction He was

Application: This paints a picture of a God who is totally
involved, of One who goes through that trough of despair with me, experiencing
moment by moment what I am experiencing. But there comes a time when, in His
love and mercy, He redeems me. He who is in the storm
with me is my rescuer.
Rather than being thrown a life preserver by a
distant God who stands safely ashore, Isaiah says He
lifts me and carries me.

This astonishing imagery of God’s suffering as I suffer
exposes the lie of believing that God is somewhere “out there,” removed from
the rocky rapids I am hurtling through. My tendency is to think I must try
harder or call louder to reach Him. But no, to think that is to not know Him at
all. My heart so easily forgets His intimate involvement with me. I must
remember that my Savior is smack in the midst of whatever I am going through. His salvation is not so much to pull me ashore as it is to
lift me above and out of my affliction.

Prayer: Lord
Jesus, I see why the image of the thrown life preserver is so inadequate in its
portrayal. Your commitment to me is so profoundly complete that You are with me
in the waters and in the fires that my heart fears could consume me. Thank You,
Lord, for the reality of Your presence in all things that touch me. I face
nothing alone, for You are with me. I love You, Lord.