Fighting Words


Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with one of my most often-used promises: Isaiah 41:10.

The day I left for three years to study in Germany, my father called me long distance in New York and gave me the promise of this verse on the telephone. For three years, I must have quoted it to myself hundreds of times to get me through periods of tremendous stress.

When the motor of my mind is in neutral, the hum of the gears is the sound of Isaiah 41:10. I love this verse.

Of course, it’s not the only dagger in the arsenal of my faith.

When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise of Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

When I am anxious about being too weak to do my work, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When I am anxious about decisions I have to make about the future, I battle unbelief with the promise, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).

When I am anxious about facing opponents, I battle unbelief with the promise, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

When I am anxious about the welfare of those I love, I battle unbelief with the promise that if I, being evil, know how to give good things to my children, “how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).

So by all means fight unbelief with every promise in the book. But it helps to have one central, default weapon. And for me that has been Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Precious, precious promise!