“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. . . .”
— Isaiah 43:2
These words about passing through waters had a special meaning for the people of Israel. When they fled from Egypt, they came to the impassable Red Sea, and it seemed they would be trapped by the pursuing Pharaoh and his army. But God miraculously opened a way so that they could cross on dry land (Exodus 14). Later they also crossed the Jordan River on dry ground to enter the promised land (Joshua 3-4). So the idea of passing through waters became a shorthand way of saying that God would watch over them through all kinds of adversity.
These words have special meaning for the people of Satkhira in southern Bangladesh. They live on a huge flood plain near the world’s largest mangrove forest. They often experience cyclones and storm surges that cause massive flooding. Rising sea levels are also flooding miles of rice paddies with saltwater, destroying farmland, displacing families, and leading to economic hardship, food insecurity, and climate refugees.
As these folks “pass through the waters,” they are not alone but are being accompanied by Christian organizations who help them learn new skills, find new employment, and adapt their farming techniques. And they are learning to trust God.
All of us can trust God in the storms and challenges of life. He is right there with us.
God, grant your mercy in the lives of everyone facing challenges. As you promise, be with us all as we “pass through the waters.” Amen.