"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." (Isaiah 43:2)
We live in a world that is plagued by the effects of sin and the curse, where even the most godly Christian is subject to the ravages of disease, accident, old age, famine, drought, and pestilence, and the sins and sinful choices of others.
Many times our suffering is deserved, due to the consequences of our personal sin or improper choices. The consequent suffering may be the direct result of our actions or may be the chastisement of God to correct our behavior. God may also bring difficulties into our lives to mold our character, making us more like His dear Son. Whatever the cause, there are times when we must go through "deep waters." But we do not face them alone, as the third verse of "How Firm a Foundation" teaches:
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
James begins his book on the effective Christian life by discussing the benefits of trials: "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. . . . Blessed is the man that endureth temptation [or trials]: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life" (James 1:3, 12). Job reflects the same triumphant attitude in our text, as do other Scripture writers (e.g., 1 Peter 1:7; Romans 8:18; etc.), and as have many saints down through the ages.
God has not promised to keep our lives free from times of distress, but He has promised to be with us through them and to use them to bring about our ultimate sanctification. JDM