“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” –Isaiah 58:11 (ESV)
Deserts are arguably the most inhospitable places on the planet. The oppressive heat and lack of food and water have caused them to become the graveyards of many an unprepared traveller. Without water to sustain the body and food to strengthen the bones, a traveller can easily succumb to dehydration and starvation; his vitality being slowly sapped away from him until he perishes under the sands. But harsh as the desert may be, even here people have made it their home. Human settlements have thrived in desert environments as long as they remain dependant on a nearby oasis or body of water. From these they are able to obtain water for themselves, as well as for their livestock and for growing crops; building cities that flourish despite their hostile surroundings.
There are times when it seems as if we are walking through a desert. Under the immense pressure of our circumstances we trudge along appearing to go nowhere and slowly losing our strength to go on. We want to be strong and survive through this desert in our lives, but turning to sources of strength in this world soon prove themselves to be small flasks of water that do not last the journey. In our despair we cry out for that which will sustain us, which will renew our strength so that we may move forward in hope. The wonderful truth is that our cries have not fallen on deaf ears. God knows the sufferings we must endure and He does not want us to go through them alone for He knows that it is a burden we cannot bear on our own. When we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and seek to follow after Him alone, His Spirit will empower us when we feel weak. Like water and food in the desert He will restore our strength so that we may walk confidently through our circumstances knowing that God is always faithful. Abiding in Him we will become gardens in the desert, or as the psalmist says in Psalm 1:3 “…like a tree planted by streams of water…”; flourishing despite our afflictions and attesting to the hope we have in Christ to those around us.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.