“They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow from the rock for them; he split the rock, and water gushed out.” – Isaiah 48:21 CSB
The first time I read the scripture verse of Isaiah 48:21, I did not think too much about it. To be quite honest, I read it but nothing quite stood out to me. And then, one day, I was faced with my greatest financial crisis. There was no money in the bank, bills piled up and were due, for some companies even two months worth of bills had accumulated. What more, there was no paycheck on the way. I was stuck in this situation for days, which turned into weeks then into months. This was only the tip of the iceberg as the rest of my life was also taking a hit. As a single woman, it was even harder for me, being unable to rely on anyone else financially. It felt as if someone had picked me up from my sleep without me noticing and dropped me off in a desert. And oh how dry is the desert!
In my distress, I turned to God as I usually did and once more fell on our key verse. Suddenly, my eyes were opened. God had led His people through the deserts. Isaiah was not saying that it was God’s fault that the people were going through this experience but rather that as they faced their difficult situation, God still remained with them and led them through it. For each step they took, God was standing right there, by their side taking a step with them and directing them. God did not take them out of the desert into a land flowing with milk and honey, yet He walked them through the desert. In the same way, when we face our rough situations, when we find ourselves in dry and thirsty places, God takes the lead and walks us through them. King David knew this well as he mentioned that God walked him through the valley of the shadow of death. God brought him from one side of the valley to another, and He can do the same for us too.
As we walk through our own deserts, places devoid of life, and desolate, God promises that we will not thirst because even in the deserts, He can split the rock so water can flow out of it for our benefit. But notice how God meets our need even in the darkest hours: He splits the rock. Something had to break!
Sometimes, you might find yourself in a desert, where there is nothing but dust and everything is dry. My bank account was dry. Perhaps, there is an area of your life right now that’s dry. And as you put up with walking through the desert, you wonder why God would allow the only thing you find in the desert to break, like the rock. I don’t know what your rock is but I do know that in order for God to meet your most important need in the desert, He has to split the rock. God has to break your rock, the only thing you find in the desert so water can gush out. This way, you will not thirst.
Friend, in my desert, God split my rock and it felt like God was taking away the only thing I had left. But it was only when He split the rock that my thirst was quenched. Maybe you’re holding tightly to your rock right now, begging God not to do anything to it, but what you cannot see is that the split rock is necessary for the shift you need to experience. The split rock is what you need so your thirst can be quenched and satisfied. So trust God. Even in the deserts, trust God to lead you through it. He will make sure you never thirst as He splits the rock for water to flow out of it, for your greatest need to be met rather than simply your immediate need. He knows what you need so just trust Him as He walks you through this time of your life.
Loving and merciful Father, God of the universe, I confess that right now I feel like I’m in a desert and the land is dry. All around me is dry and I need the water that can satisfy my soul, which only you have. I want to drink from the well that never runs dry. I confess that I am a bit afraid because I know that when you split the rock it can be painful or uncomfortable for a while. Help me Lord to trust in you. Help me to trust you in moments of my life that feel like my rock is being split in two. May I remain encouraged and confident in your abilities even in the desert. If you promised that I would not thirst in the desert, I believe it and it is so. Thank you for always being my Provider, my Strength, and my Sustainer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.