A little over a month ago, the Lord prompted my roommate to share Isaiah 43 with me. As the weeks have progressed, that Scripture has become an anthem of sorts, popping up in conversations, sermons, and prayer, and issuing a bold challenge on my life.
You see, for a while, I’ve had a mental image from the Lord that I couldn’t quite make sense of.
My mental picture is of me stranded out in the wilderness.
I’m talking straight-up-desert wilderness.
The kind with sandy, red dirt that whips around you. Swirling and blowing incessantly.
I can sense the danger all around me.
The terrain is barren. The shrubbery nonexistent. No sign of water or life. Rocky. Slippery. The sun is setting, and with it, the only possibility of warmth. The cold of the night time desert is sinking in and I can feel the fear beginning to soak in as well.
Slippery, dark, bone-penetrating, mind-numbing fear.
I don’t know where I am going. I’m lost in a place I’ve never been. All alone. Trying to find a path that will lead me out of the darkness that overwhelms me…
But here’s the thing: as I imagine the fear that I should have when I see this scene, I instead feel an overwhelming sense of peace.
Which is bizarre, because all of my “instincts” scream of the incessant danger around me. The unknown. My mind, body and soul should realistically be overcome by the negative possibilities swirling all around me.
But I’m not afraid, because I am not alone.
He is there. With me. Beside me.
I visibly see the Lord walking ahead of me, leading me, my hand cradled in His.
He is bringing me behind Him. Guiding and protecting me as we pass through the wilderness.
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you;” (Isaiah 43:5a).
As I follow God through the darkness, the rocky terrain, surrounded in shadow, He asks that I respect and follow His lead. That I push past my angst and fear and keep my hand in His. That I keep on. Pressing in.
Step after step…
Isaiah 43 captures God reminding Israel how He has been faithful in the past. In fact, He who parted the Red Sea is the same God watching over us today, providing, and making a way. God’s words are a testament to His unrelenting faithfulness that never gives up on us.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze…Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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.”
Unmistakable peace rocks my soul as I read these words. I see my hand in His. His hand marked by scars of sacrifice. His love proven to an extreme degree. He is going to lead me through this wilderness, this wasteland that is trying to engulf me.
As people, we have an innate fear of the unknown. We strive to plan out each moment of our existence so we can control as much as possible. We don’t usually go looking for risks or ways to prove that we must rely on power greater than ourselves.
After all, when I look around this desert—I am overcome. I feel the weight of every decision pressing on me like a physical weight. A nagging whisper sends worry to my heart, questioning whether I’ve missed God’s voice in the chaotic cacophony of life. What if I mess up the plan that I believe He has so carefully and fully set into motion? The fear in this season is too crippling. The question ‘why?’ comes from a million directions leaving me with an overwhelming dread of the unknown. I want to get angry. I want to quit. I want to believe the lie that I could “better serve Him if I knew the entirety of the plan.”Instead I’m left frustrated at the lack of clarity in my life. At His “answers” that only lead me to further wonder if I ever heard His voice. At His silence.
Yet, He faithfully continues to whisper His promises to my heart.
He is doing a new thing in my life, even if I cannot perceive it in this exact moment. His plans and timing are perfect. I took a few moments the other day to re-read my journals from the past few years. If I’m sure of anything after reading through the timeline of my own life, it is of the continued faithfulness of God and His ability to work all things out.
“I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
He has made a way in the past. He is making a way now. He will continue to make a way into the future.
In this season, He asks that I choose to follow whatever path He takes me down. To believe in His faithfulness and ability to craft a plan worth trusting in.
And my reply to the Lord’s call?
Though fear desires to stifle me, I focus my eyes on what is right in front of me.
Though every instinct within me screams otherwise, I take a step deeper into the wilderness.
Taking a deep breath, I reach out and grab a hold of His outstretched hand…