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 are surrounded on every side by trouble, tragedy, misfortune, heartache, discouragement; consumption, decline, loss destruction, decay; ruin, devastation, spoliation, desolation; refuse, rubbish, trash, garbage – DESERTS!
Deserts fill our world, stalk our streets and sting our spirit. Decay pollutes our air, poisons our water. Deserts kill our joy, dash our hopes and snatch our loved one away prematurely. We are surrounded on every side by desolation, ruin, waste and destruction!
On every side we are surrounded by the Cries of the People of God in these Deserts. 500,000,000 people hungry; 1 billion people in extreme poverty; 40 million dying every day from malnutrition; billions of people with no access to medical care. Millions addicted to drugs and alcohol; millions suffering the agony of neglect and abuse. People are Sighing and Crying and Dying in this Desert! Their hopes dismantled; their dreams destroyed; their prospects all but perished! Deserts have come their way just like they have come our way!
Robert Frost wrote:
“I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.”
Yes, each one us have our “own desert places.” Deserts leave no stone unturned, no body untainted, no life untouched and no heart unbroken. Even the Lord Jesus Christ, who came into this world as the perfect specimen of the human family, thru His life demonstrates for us what it means to be a true child of God. But even He wasn’t above this Desert-Experience; for He was stabbed by suffering, stung by pain, startled by disappointment and stalked by death. And taking His place, casting His lot with us in our desperate situation, the Desert claimed the Son of God, straggled the life out of Him, signed the requisition for His disposition, sealed the order for His termination, and delivered Him into a cool, chilly, waiting grave!
It seemed like all was lost; it seemed like all was done; it seemed like the Fat Lady could now sing; it looked like the curtain had fallen on the Light of the world; it looked like Life had met death and death had won. But before you take out your pencil and write a Period thinking that’s the end of the story, I think I need to tell you that God Erased that Period and wrote an Everlasting Comma!
So we can rejoice today; we can shout today; we can celebrate today; we can give thanks today because GOD IS DOING A NEW THING! And neither disappointment, heartache, trouble deserts nor death could claim Jesus Christ.
And therefore, the Lord thru the lips of Isaiah, viewing from afar the Resurrection Event, declares in tones bright and clear “I will even make rivers in the desert.”
And that “Rivers in the Desert” Thing, that “Streams in the Wasteland” Phenomenon is significant and relevant to our present situation and circumstance; because many of us are now standing in some Desert of Seeming Finality and we have written a Period!
For some of us, that Desert is a Person or Group of People who are utterly Useless, Unprofitable – Just Waste, Garbage. Their lives are Ruined or Wrecked by some past sin. Their Minds desolate of any good thought; their hearts void of any kindness; their body destroyed by pleasure; and so, we have written them off and Thrown Them Away!
To others, your Desert is a Disease or Sickness that has Devastated your Body and left you unable to function as you used to do. And so, you have written yourself off as Useless and Hopeless. To others, your Desert is a Desert of Depleted Finances and Resources; there is no Well on earth to which you can turn for relief and help. All you can visualize in the future is poverty, pain and suffering; and so you have consigned yourself to the poor-house for the rest of your natural life. To others, your Desert is a seemingly devastated and destroyed love-relationship in which there seems to be no hope of recovery. The thrill has gone and Stella is no wondering will she ever get her groove back? And so, you have decided to put up with the hopeless of the situation and grin and bear until; you see your change in the future.
But I have been moved to tell you that before you close the chapter on what you think is Ruined, Wasted, Destroyed and Beyond Recovery, to LOOK AGAIN IN THE DESERT! For I believe that if you would look again, with eyes of faith, into Your Desert you would discover that GOD IS DOING A NEW THING!
After having examined the Hebrew Text, I discovered that the verb translated as “Make” here really means “To Turn Something into Something Else.” So the Lord is not saying that He will make rivers in the desert, but that He will turn the desert into rivers. HE WILL TRANSFORM IT INTO SOMETHING ELSE!!!
THE MORE DESOLATE YOUR DESERT IS, THE MORE GOD WILL DO; FOR GOD OPERATES ON THE BASIS OF NEED.
If God is to do More, there must be a Greater Desert.
Perhaps, you and I have never developed a Need for Deserts in our lives. We love Plenty, Plushness, to have More Than Enough. We simply do not like to be in need; we don’t like Desert-Places. But if God is to do more in our life to His glory, we must allow Him to create More Needs in our life [More Deserts] to which He can be the Total Supply.
We will not trust God without Need. If there are no problems, deserts, needs, then there would be no cause for you and I to be dependent on God as the Supply in every situation. GOD WILL SUPPLY THE TOTAL FULFILLMENT TO EVERY NEED HE ALLOWS!!!
It Is Wrong to Reject The Desert. Because the Desert is precisely what triggers the Divine Supply of Rivers. The life of victory is lived right in the midst of Deserts! It is our Weakness in Warfare that calls God’s Power into the Battle. It is the Desert that Releases the Rivers!
DESERTS ARE A NECESSITY! WE MUST HAVE DESERTS. The Desert is what calls God into our affairs.
Your desert doesn’t necessarily have to be on your own making. It could have been caused by someone else, or some circumstance that happened long before you arrived on the scene. Some of us are in the Desert because of someone else’s sin. You have inherited a
debt which you did not make; a fractured relationship which you did not cause; a problem which you did not create. Others of us are in Deserts of our own making. Bad Decision-Making. Wasted Lives. Ruined Relationships. Wasted Finances.
But in either case, the Good News from the Lord is that He is the God of Second Chances. HE IS GOING TO TRANSFORM THAT DESERT INTO DELIGHT!
THERE ARE ATLEAST THREE IMPLICATIONS OF GOD TURNING DESERTS INTO RIVERS.
1. The First Implication of Turning Deserts Into Rivers is that of RENEWAL. To Renew is to Bring something back to its Former State or Condition.
A) Wasted Life
B) Ruined Relationship
C) Depleted Finances
2. The Second Implication of Turning Deserts Into Rivers is that of REVIVAL. To Revive is to restore or put back what has been depleted or used.
A) Sagging Spirit
B) Backsliding Believer
C) A Weary Church
3. The Third Implication of Turning the Wasteland Into Streams is that of REJOICING.
DON’T TRASH IT, REJOICE!
DON’T THROW HIM/HER AWAY, REJOICE!
DON’T WRITE A PERIOD. WRITE A COMMA AND REJOICE!!!
Some people don’t praise the Lord simply because they just don’t know how to. Or at least they think that they don’t know how to. Take a lesson in praise from the sport fan.
When your team dunks the ball, crosses the goal line, hit’s a home run or score a point; nobody has to tell you how to respond. You just shout.
Well, when it comes to the Lord, He is always scoring points on your behalf. I don’t know about you, but I have been in many situations in the game of life where there were 2 men out, the last half of the 9th inning, with no balls and 2 strikes; and the Lord hit a Homer just for me. Don’t you know when that happens don’t nobody have to give me shouting instructions.
Its alright to shout in your Guccis, your Ann Kleins, your Stacy’s, your Flosheim’s, your Nun Bush. And even if you don’t wear any shouting shoes, Shout bare-footed.
You ought to just praise the Name of God. So many blessings we take for granted that we ought to praise the Lord for.
THE LORD IS IN THE BUSINESS OF TRANSFORMATION!
LET HIM TRANSFORM YOUR DESERT INTO DELIGHT.
HE HAS WATER TO POUR ON THIRSTY SOULS.
LET HIM TRANSFORMS YOUR DESERT!!!!!
For certainly GOD IS ABLE!!!
The blind person needs to know that God Is Able; for he/she needs the assurance that there is Someone to watch over them.
The deaf person needs to know that God Is Able; for he/she recognizes that Someone has to hear and respond to the cry of the needy.
The alcoholic needs to know that God Is Able; for every sip of every drink is a search to be warmed and filled by the Holy Spirit in their life instead of being warmed and filled by a distilled spirit.
The homeless person needs to know that God Is Able; because he/she is searching for that shelter that protects from the storm, that food when he/she is hungry, that drink when he/she is thirsty.
The crack addict needs to know that God Is Able; for every time he/she takes a lighter, puts it to the pipe and inhales, they are hoping for God to enter their life and provide them with joy unspeakable and hope that flows like a river instead of the sting of a slow, painful death. A crack addict I once knew came into my office wanting to go into rehab for his crack habit. He knew there was a God and believed in Him, but he could not touch or see God; the pipe was a substitution.
Look at your own situation. Look at some of the things you faced during this past week. Look at some of the situations that are constantly in your life.
“When I get in trouble, Is God Able? When my back is up against the wall, when all hope is gone, Is God Able?
I can answer today in the affirmative: YES, GOD IS ABLE!
If God was able to speak and the worlds began to twirl and spin on its axis;
If God was able to place the stars and planets in exact order around the sun;
If God was able to fashion man in His own image;
If God was able to take a rib and make a woman;
If God was able to number the hairs on every head that
ever walked the face of the earth since time began;
If God was able to walk on water and say ‘Peace, be still’;
THEN GOD IS ABLE TO TURN THE DESERT INTO RIVERS!!!
HE IS ABLE TO MAKE YOUR WILDERNESS WAY MANAGEABLE.
HE IS ABLE TO TRANSFORM YOUR ENVIRONMENT!