- Birdsongs, a symphony to the early morning sunrise.
- Fresh air filling my lungs.
- Your Spirit won’t let me go . . .❤️
Your Word to me:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!
Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness,
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18, 19
As I reflect on God’s encouragement to Isaiah, I am struck that He is promising what I crave: HOPE in the bewildering times we live in. Each day I am shocked by what I read in the news, thinking to myself, “Surely, we can go no lower!” Yet with every passing news report, I am proved wrong as the once unthinkable becomes commonplace.
The first definition of the word, wilderness, in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes what I imagine the forty-years the Israelites experienced: “a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings.” They were isolated in the wilderness but God was watching over them. Ultimately, they made it through the wilderness to the land promised to Israel by God as they learned to follow and trust in Him.
But there’s another side to wilderness I hadn’t considered. Merriam-Webster’s refers to a “situational wilderness”. The illustration given to clarify the meaning is a quote from novelist Norman Mailer that refers to: “those moral wildernesses of civilized life.” Living in a culture that has jettisoned God as our moral compass and embraced this dark new age, we find ourselves mired-down in a nightmarish moral wilderness of our own making–becoming increasingly uncivilized with every passing day.
These words of warning written 2000 years ago (underscoring the fact that there is nothing “new” about the age we live in) by the Apostle Paul, ring truer with every passing day:
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud,
abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control,
brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—
having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Have nothing to do with such people.”
II Timothy 3:1-5
So how are Christians to respond to such challenging times? The wisdom given us by God through Isaiah offer direction and hope:
- Don’t yearn for what was—“the good old days” really weren’t all that good!
- Ask God to open your eyes to see signs of what He is doing in the world around you–miracles large and small are happening each and every day.
- Rely on Him to light the pathway for you and for others seeking Him.
To stay on His path I have come to appreciate the wisdom and example of Psalm 34. Written at a time when David was running for his life from a jealous king, Psalm 34 offers clarity and courage as we make our way through the manmade wilderness of every age:
“Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.”
Are you feeling increasingly isolated and alone, perhaps relating more to that “situational wilderness” than you previously thought? (Me too.) To combat those feelings turn the corner with me by:
- Giving thanks to God for His love and mercy.
- Give thanks to Him that you are NOT alone as you trust Him to lead your every step.
- Reject the ugliness of the world by seeking to bless those He puts on your path–loving your neighbor as He loves you speaks volumes in a world desperately in need of HOPE.
All to His Glory!