Hope in the Desert
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1
It is good to remember. God has been merciful to me, showing me things in his word that grab hold and settle. But, my humanity sneaks in and life moves along, and I am prone to forget. In a quick search, the term “remember” shows up at least 231 times in the NIV. That alone should cause us to take that intentional step.
I have certainly walked the journey of the desert in my life … as have you. The terrain of life can so often feel hot, thirsty, rugged, solitary, desperate … hopeless. Whether it is through the invasion of sin (ours or another’s), the grief that comes through loss, the strike against our health, the pain of watching others make terrible life choices, the agony over regret, or the fear of what else is just around the corner—life can be so hard.
Difficulties press us beyond ourselves to cry out, “God, I thirst for you! Where is the water?!” I was reminded today about En Gedi, an oasis in the wilderness in Israel. Surrounded by seemingly barren wilderness on all sides, hidden in the crevices are streams and then pools of clean, fresh water. Panting deer find their way to this source of life, the living water of God that flows from the springs … giving hope.
I was also reminded of the dramatic picture of Jesus sacrificing himself on the cross. His words were those of this same cry, “I thirst.” The Lamb of God, our living water, felt the dry, wearying heat of desert living, too.
As the Israelites trudged and survived and longed for God in a dry and weary land, he led them to the Promised Land. And we journey to a Promised Land as well. Just look at the hope held out for us in Revelation 7:16-17:
‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
The sun will no longer beat down on us! The Lamb will lead us to springs of living water! Desert living will be left behind as we live in the beautiful city of abundance. That is HOPE.
Open our eyes to see you. Give us hearts that believe.
In the scorching heat of our desert lives,
Teach us to long for you,
To trust your promises,
And to cling to the hope of
Fully quenched thirst.
February 7, 2016