“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the field will thank me, the jackals and owls too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my people can be refreshed.” Isaiah 43:19-20 NLT
Driving south, down the I-5 corridor through Northern California, my husband and I were going to witness my grandfather’s entombment. The landscape was dry, rocky riverbeds laid open, and trees reached long arms in search of water. Despite the winter season, the terrain cried of its earlier forest fires. National news had made headlines of the damages, however, passing though, while in my own tracks of death and grief, I felt the sorrow in it all. My spirit was akin to a dry riverbed or a barren, outstretched tree. My heart was cracked and brittle from the hours of watching a precious life go. The landscape mirrored my grief. But God used this trip to help me see more fully His love.
God does not leave His children in a wasteland. His heart is for renewal of life! Scripture repeats this beating of God’s heart like the hospital monitor I had spent so many hours watching. In the Bible, the Father gives us example after example of newness. The Israelites entered the promise land (Joshua 24:28), Job’s fortunes were restored (Job 42:10), and, ultimately, Jesus came that we might have a life of freedom, good pastures, and abundance (John 10:9-10).
We tend to find comfort in status quo, the consistency comforts, while change in rhythm sets off alarms. We remain in a fear that keeps us staring at death rather than trusting God and His renewal process. This is hopelessness.
For my grandfather, the changes in his heart rhythms were indications of something new. For months he had been praying for his life to come to an end because his life had become his dry wasteland. I heard him say repeatedly I am ready to go. He was looking beyond his now and into God’s promised glory.
Along that California freeway, I understood I had a choice in where I cast my eyes. I could stare long at loss and choose to live in desolation and sadness, or I could look through it into God’s glory of new life.
Headed home, we took the same Interstate northbound. Moving in the opposite direction, the roadway now revealed a new sight…snow in the mountains! Little did I know that while I was traveling in the desert, my eyes downcast, God was preparing refreshment on the high hills. God's magnificent nature was doing what it thrives on doing – seasonal renewal! And only now, in this direction, could I see it! He had already begun storing up the waters that would refresh this dry and thirsty land!
In an instant I felt refreshed! My heart swelled with joy and my spirit knew hope renewed! The compass of my outlook over my grandfather's life had been reset to true north. My eyes were no longer downcast nor my heart heavy. My grandfather had lived a lifetime with Jesus and was now delighting in eternal peace!
Eventually the California landscape would receive the refreshment that those snow caps promised, but I could access that rejuvenation immediately through hope. My grandfather passed through his desert and into his new land, I am not saddened by that, but excited to join him there one day of my own. That hope is a refreshing river to my life every day.
Sharon has been writing and teaching biblically based curriculum, Bible studies, and devotionals since 2007.
She has had the unique position of writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served women in the homeless community.
Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She’s been privileged to speak in Leadership camps intended on encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young women.
Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.
Sharon and her husband, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children.
Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing face to face. Additionally, she is working towards a degree in Ministry.
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