Lenten Reader | Day 29

Streams in the Wasteland

This is what the Lord says—
     he who made a way through the sea,
     a path through the mighty waters,
who drew out the chariots and horses,
     the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
     extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
“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 wilderness
     and streams in the wasteland.

- Isaiah 43:16-19
Israel understood what it meant to be estranged. They find themselves once again in exile: this time in Babylon, and they are left empty, corrupted, and in bondage. At one time, Israel was a nation with their own land, systems, and freedom, but now they are in a wasteland, so to speak. In their hopeless reality, God promised reconciliation. “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.”

God calls out to the people, asking them to forget the former things and all of the things that are getting in the way of the people of Israel to rely on Him. Those things in the past can seem impossible to get through and break down, but God is good at doing the impossible. Scripture tells us that God puts order into chaos. He frees a nation of slaves, and He takes on flesh as Jesus Christ. He is doing a new thing! Jesus is the new thing – the way in the wilderness and the stream in the wasteland. Through Jesus, God is showing us that, for any kind of reconciliation or break through, it requires new things to spring forth from realities that seem too impossible to ever change.

I love this analogy of a barren wasteland with water springing up in it. Christ is ultimately the living water running through our desert times, here to help and guide us. What are the places in your life that seem impossible to renew? What situations do you find yourself in that only Jesus can fix? What relationships seem irreconcilable? What wastelands need streams? May you know that Jesus is the new thing that God has done. He is making a way for you, and He is the water running through your wasteland. He is making you new as you walk towards Him.

- Emily Betson
Father, thank you for making a new way for me in Jesus. Thank you that he is a stream in the wasteland. Help me to rely on Him for renewal.