I am in the middle of an unexpected and unwanted series of transitions. I can easily fall into the ‘why’s?’ which lead me right into a wallowing self-pity. Yet while it’s hard to believe some days, I know there is a better, far more beautiful way through this desert time.
As I was praying yesterday morning, I was bringing my
complaints, um, I mean requests, to the Lord. He comforted me by reassuring me of His gifts, His oasis’s, in the wilderness. For me the wilderness is transition. But for someone else it might be grief, illness, or family problems.
Regardless of the reason, God’s promises are true for us, even in the most barren wasteland.
We are not like Israel of old with our forty years wandering in the wilderness. God did provide for them physically as He will for us. Yet, we have something more.
Our way to God is not through an imperfect man. Moses was faithful in His calling, but he led before the coming of Christ. He could not give the people the Holy Spirit to comfort them. He could not give them the vision of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as a completed work assuring them of salvation and eternity with God. He could not give them hope for changed hearts even amidst their enemies. He could not give them the fullness of the redemptive work of the kingdom of God.
We have a High Priest who reigns in the heavenly places, and is ever living to intercede for us. We have the abiding presence of God which comes through an intimate relationship made possible by Jesus. We have the hope of redemption. We have this prevailing oasis in the wilderness:
For the LORD comforts Zion;
he comforts all her waste places
and makes her wilderness like Eden,
her desert like the garden of the LORD;
joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the voice of song.
This verse is a stunning depiction of the fruit of our hope in each and every ‘waste place.’ And as we embrace this hope ourselves, we are able to pray it, speak it, and believe it for others. Because of Jesus, there truly can be a garden of the Lord in the most unlikely place.
And truly, what is desert? What is wilderness? Is it not the entirety of this life? Is it not the rutted, dusty way of this long road Home?
So it is always before us to find the treasure in God and in life.
As we believe God is good and for us–no matter what is happening—we see His beauty and our eyes open to what He gives. For me, this time of transition is also one where I can be close to family, and this is an oasis. When I was overseas, there was the oasis of ‘surrogate family’, those given to support, care for and encourage. Soon I will move again. There I can be close to some friends who we left behind to move cross-culturally. Another oasis.
Then there are the simple things. Here and now, I have some great walking paths and the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. These are things that I miss when I am away, but can easily take for granted when I return. This is true especially if returning is not my plan.
In the wilderness, there is always the promise and a taste of its fulfillment. The presence of God. The Light of His Face. The joy of a new day where He will be there. And if we really look, we will find a garden and a song.
Are you in a wilderness? What has your journey through been like? Have you found your oasis?