It happened as I read this passage. This is me. This completely describes my life.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this – those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for me, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:1-9 (NIV)
Oh, thank God – he’s so good! His love never runs out. All of you set free by God, tell the world! Tell how he freed you from oppression, Then rounded you up from all over the place, from the four winds, from the seven seas. Some of you wandered for years in the desert, looking but not finding a good place to live, Half-starved and parched with thirst, staggering and stumbling, on the brink of exhaustion. Then, in your desperate condition, you called out to God. He got you out in the nick of time; He put your feet on a wonderful road that took you straight to a good place to live. So thank God for his marvellous love, for his miracle mercy to the children he loves. He poured great draughts of water down parched throats; the starved and hungry got plenty to eat. Psalm 107:1-9 (MSG)
I’ve lived in my own version of a wasteland. It was barren. No green growth in sight. Nothing to keep me there except it was the path I was on and I had nowhere else to go. The feet trudging, kicking up more sand and not really advancing. Intellectually, I knew God was close to me in the wasteland. Emotionally, God might has well have been on Pluto for how close He felt. I let my emotions rule the day. God was far away. He had forgotten me. I would continue to wander aimlessly. I was ready to give up, toss the towel on this whole faith thing. It didn’t feel like a journey. It felt like a giant fiasco!
Those words change absolutely everything. But God.
God in His infinite mercy was right beside me. The aimlessness, that was all part of the journey, was not really aimless at all. I was walking on the road. There would be an arrival at a destination. But my eyes were completely buried in myself, my circumstances, my perception of God’s abandonment. I was never alone. God was with me.
God knew the tiredness of my soul. He knew the parched-ness of my lips. He knew the thirst that was soul deep. None of these things caught Him off guard. Instead, He knew He was the only One who could truly satisfy. My soul found rest only in God (Psalm 62:5). Worry and anxiety had no place there in His presence. He knew that even in my frustration with Him, I was thirsty to experience Him in new ways. His life, His living water was the only thing that could satiate me. The other fountains I tried were all temporary solutions. God was the hope of my heart.
He was the One who picked me up, dusted me off. He straightened me out. We set out together. He set the pace. Guiding. Directing. Nudging. Talking me through. Singing over me. He’s used key spiritual directors in my life to continue that same process. Guiding. Directing. Reminding. Coaxing me onward. Reminding me that He is far from finished with me. His plans are good!
His love has been in all of it. In the desert. In the wandering. In the tired. In the thirst. In the discouraged. In the city. In the renewed. In the quenched. In the hope. His love flows through all of it.
So thank God for his marvellous love, for his miracle mercy to the children he loves. Psalm 107:8 (MSG)