When I was baptized in 1981 as a new Protestant follower of Jesus Christ, the pastor who baptized me suggested that I pick a “life verse” and he would read it to the church as we stood in the baptistery.
He explained that a life verse would serve my go-to Bible promise through different trials and circumstances as I journeyed in my new Christian life.
I chose a verse that my new faith was already drawing comfort and assurance from, as I was walking toward an unknown future away from the familiarity of friends, support of family, and the Catholic church of my upbringing.
For my life verse I chose Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
That simple suggestion by Pastor Colin Morris in Toledo, Ohio would become one of the most helpful ideas of my life. I memorized Isaiah 41:10 and made a regular habit of repeating it to myself in the most mundane circumstances and in the most stressful of situations.
Isaiah 41:10 has become God’s word to me, reminding of His faithfulness, assurance and peace. It has been my closest friend in the most fearful of times and in the most painful of times. It has quieted my soul in the courtroom, the operating room, and the funeral home.
I can not emphasize enough the value of keeping a memorized Bible promise before our heart, mind, and soul. Especially as the trials of life begin to squeeze out our peace.
Isaiah 26:3 is the key to maintaining the peace that is ours from the Prince of Peace, it says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
The reality of our 24/7 digital world is, if we are not intentional on keeping our minds set on God’s Word, the world is ever present and ready to fill that void. Even if we try to avoid every form of social media, television, and radio, we are still likely to hear of the latest tragedies and troubles in the headlines from conversations with others.
Fortunately, the antidote is offered to us in Romans 12:2 “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Simply put, what we fix our mind upon is what we follow.
In Deuteronomy 6:8-9 Moses addressed the children of Israel about being intentional in keeping the law of God before them so it would be in their heart, telling them to “bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
So, do you have a life verse? Do you have a favorite go-to Bible promise for whatever trial comes you way? If not, consider mine, Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
I think of Isaiah 41:10 as all-encompassing promise because of it references four specific issues: it speaks to turning to God when we are “dismayed” which is to say uncertain or confused; it speaks to turning to God for strength to cope or deal with our situation; it speaks to turning to God for help; and it speaks to turning to God for our vindication because the term “right hand” in biblical imaginary denotes judgment and God’s judgment is always just, holy, and sure.
Isaiah 41:10 is a promise from our God for you and me, so let’s claim it.