“Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters.” Exodus 15:27.
Back in November I began walking to get a little healthier and avoid going on medication for cholesterol. The place I chose to walk was a road I had seldom paid attention to, never noticing the large hill I would have to climb. The first time I turned the corner on that curve my eyes could only see the climb and nothing else. I felt discouraged but committed so step by step I climbed the hill. When I got to the top I was relieved to see the land flatten out for a good distance…Aaahhhh…breathing normally again…breeze through my hair and a smile on my face. What I experienced was a mere fraction of what the Israelites encountered. No doubt they dragged themselves step by step through the wilderness becoming exhausted, thirsty, hungry and dirty. They had been led by God into the wilderness with nothing but open and empty land as far as they could see. And then, out of nowhere they see the beautiful places of renewal and restoration. I can see them acting like little children running up ahead into the water, splashing each other and drenching themselves with the fresh water. Of course they camped…
My Bible study this morning shows the contrast between the desert and the wilderness. ‘A wilderness is peppered with oases, places of hope for a weary traveler. A desert is a barren expanse that can support little life or vegetation. At first it seems that the wilderness through which God led His people was a desert, but in reality it was a place with grassy areas, upland plains, and even surface water. God’s people were able to withstand the journey because God led them not through an arid desert but into a wilderness complete with natural rest stops.’ One In A Million, p. 53. I find it very interesting that what appeared to be a desert of nothingness was really a wilderness of God’s wonders.
Whatever you face this morning or whatever parched land on which you are walking, please be comforted that God has placed grassy areas up ahead for your refreshment. This could be a word of encouragement from a stranger or a note from a friend. He has provided waters of the Holy Spirit to quench our thirst of hopelessness. Even if you cannot see anything up ahead, you can be confident that God has already been there placing an oases of His wonders exactly where you need them. God knows where all of the sweet spots are on our journeys…after all, He placed them there!