Isaiah 58:11-12: "The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. . . . you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings."
I stumbled across this passage this week and I thought I would share it. It promises that God will give us guidance, provision for our needs, strength, and refreshment--so that we can begin to refresh, repair, and restore other people. The phrase in a "sun-scorched land" evokes in my mind images of the dry, desperate places we sometimes find ourselves in. Times and situations in our lives when it seems as if all our passion, enthusiasm, and joy has dried up, leaving us desperately in need of refreshment, whether it be in a physical, emotional, or spiritual sense. I think this image can also apply to times in our lives when we become so overwhelmed with the day-to-day business of life that we become drained, burned out, weak, and fatigued, much the way we would become after trying to make our way through a literal "sun-scorched land."
This passage promises strength for these times and even IN these times. God will satisfy our needs IN a sun-scorched land. Even the desert times of our lives can be a place for God to be actively at work within us. He will satisfy us IN those places and times, not only when He brings us out of them to a place of deeper renewal.
"You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." I find this imagery striking after the idea of being in the desert place, in the sun-scorched land. This is an image of continual, ongoing, always accessible refreshment. If we are compared to a spring whose waters never fail, we are reminded that we carry with us the capacity for continual renewal even when we find ourselves in the desert. In fact, this verse makes me think of Jesus' words in John 7: "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." We have the Holy Spirit within us so that living water is accessible to refresh and restore us--not only for us, but also so that we can in turn refresh others.
As the Isaiah passage phrases it: "You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings." Because of the grace, refreshment, and restoration which we continually receive in Christ, we have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to minister to others so that they, too, can be repaired and restored. These are roles that we can embrace in our day-to-day lives. The "waters which never fail" are not only for us and our benefit, but for others as well whose lives come in contact with ours...others who may see the peace we possess even in the desert place, the joy and spiritual abundance our lives speak of even in times of scarcity, thirst, and even desperation. We have been given refreshment and satisfaction in Christ so that we can begin to refresh and restore others, to be an unfailing spring of water even to other weary travelers in the desert. We should not fear the inevitable desert times in our life journeys, because if we as Christians, who have streams of living water within us, never walk through the desert, we have no way of helping others in this place of need. And if we abide in Christ, we will find streams in the desert.
If we make it our practice to extend the grace we have received to others through ministry, we can attract others to Christ, the only one who can truly and completely restore broken, shattered lives. He is the one redeemer who can renew our lives completely. So let us seek Him, so that we can share in his work of restoration in the world.