When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
God’s children are sometimes the most bitterly tried. For them the fires are heated seven times; they suffer, not only at the hand of man, but the heavens seem as brass to their cries and tears. The enemy of souls has reason to challenge them with the taunt, “Where is now your God?” You and I have perhaps been in this plight. We have said, “Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?” 
The matter of suffering is seldom dealt with today in such a way as to help us either understand or undergo it. Some of the popular drivel we hear seems almost to deny that the Christian does suffer….This is one more example of the modern’s estrangement from his own soul. 
The Christian does suffer, but we can lean into the heart of a loving, compassionate, and merciful God, walking through suffering with Him. Many of us are currently suffering from anxiety and fear and other negative emotions as we experience suffering from the Covid crisis but we can trust that God will help us. When we suffer, the enemy of our souls taunts us with the thought that God has forsaken us but this is far from the truth. We may think that God has forgotten to help us, but our loving, gracious God always holds us in His attention and care.
Lord, we acknowledge the reality of suffering. Remind us of Your love and comfort when we endure suffering. Reassure us that You are with us and walk through the fires with us. Let us fervently believe that You will never leave us or forsake us even in the greatest suffering we endure. Thank You that we are always held by Your gracious and loving arms and that we need not fear.
 F.B. Meyer, Our Daily Walk (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1982, March 21.
 Leanne Payne, The Healing Presence (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1995), p. 207.
Painting: Simeon Solomon, 1863, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Meditation prepared by Mary Carrington, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.