See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
The desert is a strange place. It’s a place of extremes. Extreme weather that flips from hot to cold simply with the rising or setting of the sun. Times when there is no rain, and moments of water that refresh the land. Most of the year it is a dry and barren wasteland almost uninhabitable. And yet, there are hidden among the rocks and dunes plenty of survivors in the wilderness. Often life feels like the wilderness. We live through extremes of highs and lows, wastelands and moments of refreshment. Most of the time we are just survivors walking through a vast desert wilderness.
For Israel, I wonder if the latter half of Saul’s reign felt like they were surviving in the wilderness, just barely holding on. Saul had gone mad, spent most of his time chasing David. People were departing and following David into the actual wilderness. All the promises and hopes of a great kingdom were falling apart. But sometimes this wilderness journey of survival is necessary. It’s necessary so that God can do something new.
With the tragic death of Saul came the end of the reign of the first king of Israel. It fell in ruins as his body was stung up on display. Where was the glory of Israel now? But in this tragic moment, things began to give way to a new thing. A new thing that would bring a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. It was something that God had planned from long ago and was finally happening. He was preparing to move David toward the throne.
Perhaps life for you has been a wilderness and wasteland. It’s been raw, challenging, filled with loss, and brokenness. But a new perspective can always be helpful. Losing the past is painful, but just like for Israel, it paves a way to a new thing that God is going to do in your life. While I would never tell you to embrace the loss, I will echo the words of James, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” God is going to do a new thing, bring streams to the wasteland and a way in the wilderness, and even though it may be hard we can count it pure joy and look ahead to that new thing.