The book of Isaiah, written in the exile period, gave comfort to the Israelites during times of great pain, promising redemption and restoration. In any moment, it is good wisdom to remind us not to dwell on the past. Who of us has not been lost and confused in a stressful and often violent world? As people of faith, we do our best to acknowledge God is with us, even in the darkest days. Re-living yesterday usually leaves us in the dark and I doubt any of us wants to stay there.
When our loved one repeats the same negative behaviors and we are frustrated, instead of repeating our frustration, it is necessary to recognize we can’t handle caretaking on our own. God wants us to rely on Him, pouring out our hearts to Him and letting Him carry our burdens. I have found it important wisdom, not to waste the energy (I have little of,) worrying about things beyond my control. I read, worry does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.
It is collaborating with the Lord in rearranging our priorities – making God first in our life, that we become aware of the ‘new thing.’ Even the desert can have streams when we keep our eyes on the Lord. If we live in the past, we miss out on the present. Richard Rohr says, “We cannot attain the presence of God, because we are totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is our awareness.”
Through the healing of the Holy Spirit, I can proclaim today that I am a ‘product of my past, but do not have to be a prisoner.’ Living though trauma in my own life and through my caretaking responsibilities, God’s constant faithfulness continues to carry and sustain me. Positive minds on Instagram says, “Whatever happened over the past year, be thankful for where it brought you. Where you are today is where you are meant to be.” I know intelligently that difficulties make us who we are today and nothing is wasted in God’s economy.
Of course, it is the waiting for answers to our prayers that becomes the most challenging. Our biblical heroes also waited. Joseph waited, fifteen years, Abraham, twenty-five years, Moses, forty years and Jesus thirty years. If God makes us wait, we are in very good company. We are provided the story of salvation history in the Bible. Earlier in Isaiah 35 the verses speak of Israel’s deliverance, “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom.” Isaiah 35:1. If God does this for the arid land, how much more will He do for us?
As the Scriptures soak into our being, we experience the delight of God’s presence. Will we live in the present moment in God’s grace, expecting joy and gladness and our deserts to become living waters?