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 victorious right hand.
Isaiah 41:10
We’ve all had our moments when we want to throw up our hands and say, “enough is enough,” or walk away and quit something. Sometimes our frustration comes from our workings with others. Sometimes it comes from feeling isolated and alone. But we all feel frustrated at times—in our marriages, with our children, in our jobs, with our friends, with life in general, and sometimes even with God.
In Isaiah 41:40, God tells us “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 victorious right hand.”  The first part of this verse reminds us of Psalm 23:4, which we have already reflected on, where we read “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”  Jeremiah 1:19 reads “They will fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, says the Lord, to deliver you.”  If God is with us, who can be against us!
Be not dismayed, for I am your God—The greatest joy in life is confidence that we have in God as His children. If He is with us, and we are with Him, then nothing can stand against us. If He is our Father, and we are His children, we know that He loves us and protects us, as a father loves and protects his children. Except God’s love for us in unconditional and unending. 
The final sentence of this verse tells us three things that God does for us—strengthen, help and uphold.  He strengthens us as we face our challenges. He sharpens our minds, calms our anxieties, and gives us wisdom. These things are acquired through prayer. This is why we should pray daily and throughout the day. God helps us when we can’t help ourselves. This happens through the gift of God’s grace, a blessing from God which completes what is lacking in us. Grace closes gaps that we cannot close. Grace helps complete the things we cannot finish. Grace is received primarily through the sacraments of the Church—Holy Communion and Confession are sacraments we should be receiving with regularity. Grace also comes to us through our own personal prayers. 
Finally, when all seems lost, God upholds us. I’m reminded of the story in Exodus 17, when the Israelites were fighting Amalek. We read in 17:11-12 “Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat upon it, and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side and one on the other side; so his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have felt myself at a loss of something to say, or the right thing to do. And I have prayed to God to hold not my hands, but mind and my mouth, so that I can say the right thing. This doesn’t mean I have procrastinated and am throwing up a prayer of desperation to God. In the normal course of life, even with the best of intentions, I sometimes find myself at a loss for what to do. Honestly, I find that when I go with “my own devices” and try to figure it out myself, I do not do as well, or as quickly or go with as much confidence as when I stop, pray and offer whatever the challenge is to God, asking Him to bless me in whatever endeavor I am doing. I’ve felt like Moses, like I can’t go another step, like I can’t make another decision, like I can’t hold another thought. But I have also felt the grace of God propping up my mind, my soul, my spirit, and yes, even my body.  
So, when you are annoyed, or just struggling to get through the day, remember today’s verse. He’s got you! He is with you. Don’t get too dismayed. He will strengthen you, help you and when all hope seems lost, He will uphold you. 
O God, Thou art my God, I seek Thee, my soul thirsts for Thee; my flesh faints for Thee, as in a dry and weary land where no water is. So I have looked upon Thee in the sanctuary, beholding Thy power and glory. Because Thy steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise Thee. So I will bless Thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on Thy name. My soul is feasted as with marrow and fat, and my mouth praises Thee with joyful lips, when I think of Thee upon my bed and meditate on Thee in the watches of the night; for Thou hast been my help, and in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to Thee; Thy right hand holds me up. Amen. (Psalm 63:1-8)
Go with God today!


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced multiple books, you can view here: https://amzn.to/3nVPY5M


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