“…I will turn the desert into pools of water…I will put in the desert…the myrtle and the olive…so that people may see and know…that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.” Isaiah 41:18-20
If you find yourself in a dry place, take heart. A desert is a perfect venue for God to work. Though you may be exhausted, the Lord is a source of strength. Though thirsty, He is living water. The end of ourselves can be the beginning of His chance to plant something new and growing. Let go of what brought you to the desert and allow him to paint a new picture.
Dry times unrolled
are a canvas blank,
God’s hand to show.
A desert place
is wide open space,
saplings to grow.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” Isaiah 55:8-9
God doesn’t operate like we do. His thoughts aren’t our thoughts and his ways aren’t our ways. There’s no figuring him out. But he has given us the word that we might know him, as much as our finite minds can grasp.
The thoughts of God
no man can know—
higher than the heavens
and unlike my own.
The ways of the Lord,
who can discern?
The path of his footsteps—
impossible to learn.
But to those who seek
he willingly gives
his thoughts, his ways
his life—to live.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 19:13
“…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Timidity has been my lifelong, unwanted companion. Fear has been the third wheel. Together we’re content to be pasted on the wall. The back wall.
My natural weaknesses force me to depend on God. I have to allow him to be strong where I am weak. And he has been. He continues to deliver me from over-sensitive, self-conscious tendencies.
I can tell when the timidity returns—expressing thoughts becomes like driving on a gravel road full of pot holes and I simply go quiet. I’d rather write it than say it.
But where I am weak, he is strong. He helps me face the timidity and drive past the pot holes. Weak areas become places of the Lord’s strength.
Is there an area in which you feel insufficient? Is this weakness an ongoing challenge? Let the insufficiencies be a reminder to turn to the Lord for his strength. He longs to be strong where you are weak!
“Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.” Isaiah 8:10
Long, long ago and in a land far away…my high school wasn’t characterized as winning. Our sports’ teams weren’t bad, it’s just that other schools dominated and claimed the titles. They always seemed to have the edge. In the kingdom of sports, we were the lesser kingdom.
Flash ahead to my son’s high school and it was a different story. A winning culture prevaled throughout the entire school. Students carried a positive attitude into every event; they expected to win and much of the time, they did. They were knights in shining armor.
As believer’s in Christ we have God on our side. We wear his armor into daily battles and fight with his weapons. Though life is full of ups and downs, in the end, God wins.
More often than I’d like to admit, I forget whose team I’m on and a defeated attitude enshrouds the day. This is not from God; it’s from the enemy. The defeated one would like me to live as if he still has a chance to win the game.
Life may be a day-to-day battle, but there is hope knowing that at the end of the story…God wins.
We’re on the winning side of the field. The battle is already won—the reel is just playing out until the end of the game!
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16
A friend of mine calls jogging “wogging,” a mixture of walking and jogging. My wogging style is a slow sad trot—when the weather’s nice!
As much as I might huff and puff, there’s no way around it. This physical body is not what it used to be and I’m on the downhill slide.
Missing a few weeks of wogging means I’ll have to build up again when I resume my routine; I can’t just jump back in at the same level. Fight it all you want but there’s no way to stop aging, even with exercise and a healthy diet.
Inwardly, it’s a different story. There’s hope for the inside. The inside can be renewed day by day. He refreshes the spirit. He gives love, joy and peace. When I let him, he restores a thankful spirit. I don’t have to stay stuck in a bad attitude.
So, how am I taking care of the inside? Am I taking time to exercise the prayer life? Am I consuming a healthy mental diet? Daily servings of God’s Word bring spiritual strength. Weekly worship refreshes the spirit.
The outside is going to give out completely one day, but the inside will live forever. Take care of the outside, but focus on the inside!
“Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not our hands be idle; for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” Ecclesiastes 11:6
My grandmother was a doll maker. She filled trash bags with stuffed legs, arms and bodies to be assembled later. She created tiny dresses, bonnets, overalls, shoes and perfected the hand-stitched faces that would grace the gift shop shelves of Shaker Village.
And this in addition to gardening, canning, quilting and church commitments. There was not a stitch of idleness in her DNA.
If my grandmother had been idle, she would have missed the income from selling dolls as well as the joy of receiving notes from those who bought and loved them. Her doll making business opened doors for income and influence.
When a car sits idle, all the capabilities to move are there, but it remains in position. A car was built to move. Likewise, God gives his children gifts, talents, skills and abilities to plant and produce a crop. We were meant to move forward. To be fruitful.
Are you holding seeds of potential? Then look for a place to sow. Or as my grandmother did—sew the doll and sell it!
“…To enjoy your work and to accept your lot in life—that is indeed a gift from God. The person who does that will not need to look back with sorrow on his past, for God gives him joy.” (TLB)
When I reach the end of time on earth I’d like to look back without regret. I’d like to maximize each life stage for the Lord.
When one accepts his lot in life
And in his work finds happiness,
His days will then be occupied
With a heart chocked full of gladness.
It is indeed a blessing,
To contentedly spend one’s days,
Free from second guessing
And no regrets from yesterday.