We all can agree. All can identify with the feeling of being “sent out into the wilderness” where we are full of pain and can see no clear path forward – like Israel’s exodus Babylon. Yet, when Israel was in Babylon, this is what God said.
Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
One commentary has this to say about these verses. “The original exodus did not exhaust God’s power but provided a pattern of new exodus-like deliverances. The Jewish exiles should not live in the past but should look for God to bring them home from Babylon through another ‘exodus.’ A way in the wilderness. Where there is no clear path forward, God creates one. Rivers in the desert. Where there is no natural relief or refreshment, God provides it.”
For me, Isaiah clearly tells us that God is not a God of keeping everything the same. God is a God where he has provided a path for us to grow, and use and improve the skills that we have been gifted with. In these verses, we can clearly see that when we are at a place where there is no clear path forward, where we don’t know where to take our next step, when pain threatens to paralyze us, God creates a path forward. God provides rivers in the desert. Where no water exists for our sustenance, God creates nourishment for us. It just takes baby steps on our part to learn to see it.
God knows when we are in pain. And, each time he sees us in distress, he provides for us that which we need. The greatest example of God seeing our pain and providing confident expectations of a great future is when Christ died on the cross for each and every one of us. He endured immense pain and strife. He endured OUR pain and strife. He paid the price for OUR mistakes, not His. He showed us that he understands. He showed us that there is an end to our suffering. He showed us that when we are done with this suffering that we are going to a great place.
Still, we have to have the perspective to see that we do have a choice. We have to have the perspective to know that we need to make a decision to search for the confident expectations that God is holding out to us, the hope that God has shown to us over and over.
God cannot force hope upon us. We have to choose it. We have to choose to see it. Stories upon stories exist that show us that God can do it and DOES do it! Even so, we have to experience the stories in our own lives. We have to “know” for ourselves that God can truly take care of us. Each experience produces endurance. Each experience builds trust. Then, trust yields it’s perfect result in the form of confident expectations that we will always be taken care of.
If you feel like you’re in the wilderness right now, pray for hope. Pray for hope. Pray for hope and look for answers in unexpected places. He’s waiting.
“Turning today’s pain into confident expectations for a great tomorrow.”