“Walking in a winter wonderland,” has quite a different ring than “Walking in a wilderness of adversity,” doesn’t it?
But that’s where the Israelites found themselves for 40 years. And that’s where we sometimes find ourselves as well, isn’t it?
We’re familiar—sometimes mournfully so—with the sandy terrain and rough patches, the brown landscapes and dry air of the wilderness, and we long for a respite, for a hint of green, for shade and cool water.
But, like Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, we may be afflicted in every way in this wilderness but we’re not crushed.
Not driven to despair.
In Deuteronomy 2, the Lord (kind of) says to the people, “Listen, y’all, you have been traveling around this mountain country long enough,” and begins to explain what will happen for them next. He re-routes their path and says to be careful going through the territory of Esau’s people. God tells them that even though He isn’t giving them the land they’re walking through, He will provide food and water by allowing the Israelites to purchase from Esau’s people so they can eat and drink. A season of refreshment has come.
Then we get to verse seven. It’s one of my favorite verses, a treasure chest of gems:
“For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”
Isn’t that so rich? There is so much there; way more than this blog (or blogger) can tackle.
“He knows your going through this great wilderness.”
Does that not drip with comfort?
He knows. Their way was known. They were known. So it is with you.
“He knows” because He was with them every step of the way. “He knows” your going because He’s with you too.
How did they know He was with them?
In this jewel of a verse (seven), the Lord is teaching His people the reality that His provision is His presence. They lacked nothing they needed. He provided. And He’s providing for us, regardless if we’re walking in a winter wonderland or a sandy wilderness that seems devoid of life.
Drink deep from this fountain, soul.
Rest assured, our time in the wasteland isn’t wasted. God is strategically at work, continuing to provide everything you need.
Look around you, how has God provided?
In what ways do you see His tender care and mercy?
How is He marking His activity?
Maybe our season of refreshment is here but we don’t realize it because we’re too busy dwelling on the sand instead of the One who is with us in the middle of it.
Because Jesus was forsaken on the cross by the Father, we never will be.
Because Jesus was wounded, our pain is now temporary.
Because Jesus took our sin and gave us life, this death we’re feeling will one day be eclipsed by True Life.
Because Jesus walked in the wilderness of God’s abandonment, we will never have to.