Have you ever had to travel through a desert? I have and believe me it was not an adventure I would like to repeat anytime soon. Many years ago, I my young family and I were moving from Iowa to Los Angeles in an old 1974 Grand Safari station wagon with a leaky front transmission seal pulling a 6’ x 12’ U-Haul trailer. It seemed like every hundred miles, sometimes less; we were stopping to top off the transmission with oil or the radiator with water. Our car dangerously over heated several times on the 1800 miles trip.
After traveling over 1000 miles of Rocky Mountains, sometimes barely creeping over each new peak before us, we found some respite when we stopped for a day in Las Vegas to rest. As we headed west out of the city the next morning, we were surprised to discover that we still had to cross another 800 miles of desert terrain filled with mountain range after mountain range.
I happened to have been quick witted enough to pick up an extra thermostat along the way, and even five gallons of water. However, when I looked in my car’s tool box I was short one 9”x16” box end wrench – the only one that would enable me to replace the broken thermostat on the car. I remember praying super-fast and super-intensely because I had no idea how my wife and I and three young children were going to get out of this seemingly hopeless situation.
No kidding, just as I ended my prayer, a long-haired guy in a white panel van pulled up beside me and noticed me working under the hood of the car. He saw my frustration and asked me what was wrong? I told him about the missing wrench and my broken thermostat. He told me he thought he might be able to help me out. The guy went to the back of his panel van and returned in just a few minutes with a 9”x16” box end wrench – the very one I needed! He told me that he was a mechanic and that he was moving to Los Angeles as well and had all of his tools in the back of his van. I fixed the thermostat and went to return the wrench to its owner who simply said, “Keep it – you might need it again.”
Crossing a desert can be difficult and dangerous. Sometimes God’s people find themselves traveling through desert places in their lives. Perhaps you are traveling across a desert in your life right now. If you are, I am sorry that you have to endure it. However, one thing I learned through my desert experience is that God is the God of the deserts of life. Even the deserts are subject to His deity, serve His purpose and must render glory to their Creator.
God has left a precious promise to those traveling through the deserts of life in Isaiah 43:19. Isaiah records these words, “I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Just as in my situation when I felt the most stuck, the most helpless and the most hopeless, God made a way in the desert for me. My desire is to pass on to you a message of hope - if God made a way for me, he can also make a way for you.
Some well-meaning folks would say: “stop being impatient, just wait for God”; “He’ll bring the answer in His timing.” I learned that out in the desert sometimes we need help right away – if help doesn’t come right away we may not make it. The sun is just too hot and our thirst is just too great.
God knows how hot, dry and dangerous the desert can be too. That is why in verse 19 he recognizes our urgent need for help in desert situations. Isaiah reminds of the immediate availability of God’s help when we find ourselves out in the desert. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
Just as God was aware that I needed His help immediately in my desert journey, He is well aware of your need and your time table in your circumstances too. God wants to remind you that His help is already on the way – “Even now it springs up!” The Hebrew word for “now” means that “help has already been prepared and stands at the ready!”
I want you to know that I am no stranger to the desert. I have had my troubles there too. I think you can see that. I will even go so far as to confess that I have been anxious at times, angry at others, felt depressed and sometimes even distraught. However, I have learned a great lesson that I hope that you can learn too. God is God over every desert you face in your life. He has already made a way for you to pass through it, and “even now His help springs up, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19).