Recently, I positioned myself on a fallen tree that rested beside the calming river. The sun’s warmth greeted me, as the birds performed beautiful hymns that echoed throughout the atmosphere. Due to the pressure of overwhelming struggles, I journeyed into the woods, knowing that it would allow me to embrace the very essence of God’s presence with limited distraction. I was aware that I needed to disconnect from the world and that quiet time with my Creator was absolutely vital, so I ventured to a place where Solitude ensued without hesitation; to a place where I was able to realign my soul.
After basking in the presence of my King, I was able to recollect my thoughts, travel back to my one bedroom apartment, stuff my backpack, and quietly walk to class. I comfortably situated myself in a seat, and began listening to my professor speak.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your savior.” She inquired, “Do any of you remember the fire that devastated Yellowstone in 1988?” Knowing that I had not even made my grand entrance into the world when this phenomenon occurred, I politely shook my head. She continued, “A fire raged through Yellowstone, and ruined thousands of acres! Shortly after the fire dissipated, a few rangers decided to survey the damage in an area that appeared lifeless. One man noticed something moving at the base of a tree. Curious to see what could have possibly survived such a horrendous disaster, he reached out his hand and touched a mother bird. Her torched feathers disintegrated upon contact, but miraculously a handful of baby chicks peeked through the ashes. This mother bird risked her own life to save her young.” With tear filled eyes, my professor concluded, “When we endure the fires of life, Jesus will graciously protect us under His wings.”
Completely touched by this story, I picked up my pen, opened my notebook and wrote: He allows fire to purify us not harm us. We are His treasure, and He desires to make us into the diamond that we were created to be.
When class was dismissed, I made my way back to my apartment. Desiring to meditate further on Scripture, I selected the first verse from the list I had previously compiled of God’s many promises. I turned my Bible to Isaiah 43 and began reading: But now, this is what the Lord says – He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: do not fear, for I have redeemed you by name, you are mine…
Remembering something I had read last year, I stopped abruptly, ran towards my bookshelf, retrieved Lisa Bevere’s book, Without Rival, and eagerly turned to page 26! I could barely contain myself as I re-read the passage: I want you to know who you are. Before we go any further, pick up a pen, close your eyes, and ask your Creator to whisper His unique designations over you.
I looked to the side of the page and read what I had written in response to her request: You are special. You are chosen… I remember stopping after this point, closing my eyes, looking up, and asking, “Okay, God. You have called me special, you have called me chosen, but she is asking for three attributes. How else do you see me?” The Lord replied, “You are mine.” I recall smiling as I completed the assignment. I wrote: You are mine.
I decided to continue reading the passage on page 26 before returning to my Bible. Lisa continued: I want to assure you that God will never speak something contrary to His word. The Holy Spirit animates what God’s Word outlines. My entire being beamed with adoration, realizing the confirmation that had just transpired. The attributes that were revealed to me last year were indeed God breathed!
I proceeded forward in Isaiah: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your savior…
“God!” I shouted. “This is the verse we just discussed moments earlier in class!” I was so fascinated by the story my professor shared regarding the fire that raged through Yellowstone that I didn’t even catch the reference upon reviewing this Scripture! I did not realize that she was reading from Isaiah 43! “Jesus!” I asked. “What are you trying to tell me? It is no accident that I happened to choose this verse from the list I’ve previously compiled!” The Lord replied, “You are mine. I allow fire to purify you not harm you. You are my treasure, and I desire to make you into the diamond that you were created to be.” It’s as if He picked up a pen and wrote this promise in the notebook of my heart.
Princess, despite the many challenges I recently endured, my Best Friend undoubtedly manifested Himself through it all. I had two choices; to either quit or proceed forward. I chose to keep swimming, remembering that Jesus is my life jacket. Regardless of the hardships that surround you, don’t ever forget that diamonds are formed through intense pressure and heat. You are His, and He will allow the fire to purify you. Princess, God desires to fashion you into the beautiful jewel that you were created to be.
Now, Princess, pick up a pen, close your eyes, and ask the Holy Spirit to whisper His unique designations over you. Don’t fear that you are making up words of love and value. This is how the Lord really sees you.
Bevere, L. (2016). Without Rival. Embrace Your Identity and Purpose in an Age of Confusion and Comparison. Grand Rapids, MI.: Revell.