“New Days” Meditations 3: In the wilderness?
Isa 43:19 “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.”
We need to recap where we’ve been so far in order to maintain a sharp focus on where this is going. Through Isaiah the Lord has said “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.” Why? Because the Lord is doing a new thing. But He went on to ask us, “do you not perceive it?” a question that needs asking of people whose lives tend to be very normal from day to day, people who aren’t expecting anything to happen, any big changes to come, especially from the Lord.
A simple response might be from us, “See what? What am I supposed to be perceiving?” Sometimes things can be obvious, other times not so much, so it is a legitimate question. So then comes a surprising answer: “I am making a way in the wilderness.”
In the wilderness? I know Isaiah had already spoken of preparing a way in the desert (40:3) and now he speaks of a wilderness? What is the significance? Why is God coming in a wilderness? They are places of dryness, of emptiness, of barrenness, often places of solitude where nothing is happening. Anything happening here would be new.
He says He is coming into those empty areas where we expect little or nothing to be happening, areas where we have seen little change, little growth, little fruitfulness. Where is that? Maybe it is homes, families, colleges, schools, work, the shops. These are all the familiar places where nothing has happened and we expect little out of the ordinary to happen. Let’s be honest, there are some exceptions but mostly the Christian Church of recent years has not been known for its vibrant community changing life.
The other day the Lord said to me, “Where are my voices? Where are the voices of my people speaking into my world? My people have been silenced by this present world.” The modern world of the West is a desert, a spiritually dry place, a wilderness. When sometimes I look at my garden after we haven’t been doing much cleaning up and the rain has produced much growth, we look at it and say, “It looks a wilderness! We must do something with it.” We need to be saying the same thing about life in the West, it is a shambles! You haven’t seen it as such? Ask the Lord to open your eyes to identify the wilderness aspects of modern Western life. The 2020-21 Pandemic has certainly acted into it. I don’t believe the Lord actually brought it but I do believe He allowed it, allowed sinful mankind to bring it in the same way He has allowed sinful mankind to wreck the environment and cause havoc on the earth. Is this Him moving in the wilderness?