Isaiah 43:18-20 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 desert and streams in the wasteland.

By Linda Cox

My husband and I arrived early for a meeting at a farm on the other side of our county, only to find that the landowner was delayed for at least an hour. So we used that time to take a leisurely drive on the backroads in that area.

It had been many years since I’d traveled those roads, but I could still remember what the land was like 40-50 years ago. Having been strip-mined for coal before reclamation was a reality, it had been gouged deep by huge shovels, dirt piled high with steep banks, huge rocks, no vegetation, barren. How I had hated what man was doing to the beautiful farmland, all in the name of progress.

But after all these years, I was amazed to see how beautiful that land had once again become. It was a rugged beauty, like that of a wilderness. Yet it was beauty just the same. The gouged areas were now clear blue lakes, many of which had boat docks floating on them. The mounds of dirt were covered in grass, wildflowers, and scattered trees. Beautiful homes and small clubhouses dotted the landscape. I couldn’t get over the transformation of this once ugly, forsaken, ravaged area. God had turned a barren wasteland into a place of beauty.

He does that in our lives as well. We are gouged by life’s hurts and challenges—illness and cancer, financial difficulties and job loss, marital strife and divorce, wayward children, death. Things that leave deep, painful, ugly scars. We wonder why. Will we ever heal? Will we ever be useful again? Will we find joy and peace once more? Yet slowly, over time, as we give our pain and suffering to Jesus and allow Him to work through it in our lives, He makes us new and beautiful in Him.

If you feel gouged by life’s hurts, forsaken and barren, rest in God’s promise that He will do a new thing in you. He will send streams of life-giving water through the desert places in your life and help you find beauty in your wilderness.