Saturday, December 6, 2014

Four Promises: Hope In the Desert

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever 
you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will  
not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." 
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, 
"Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." Genesis 28:15-16

Water in the desert...hope...That's what Jacob needed. He fled for his life - his brother, Esau, vowed to kill him. So Jacob ran. When he stopped for the night, out in the middle of nowhere, the Lord surprised him with promises that encouraged and strengthened him.  

We desperately need hope when we're roaming in deserts of loneliness, pain, or loss. We need water in the desert. And to us the Lord says:

1. I am with you. When I was laid off a year after I lost my Mom to cancer, I certainly doubted that God was around. "Where are You? Don't You see what's happening to me?" It took me a while to become aware of God's voice when He said, "I am here." We don't always hear Him. We don't always feel His presence. But here's a promise we can cling to: He is with us.

2. I will watch over you. "Don't you care? Why aren't you dong something?" Have you ever prayed those words? It's hard to believe that God watches over us when our lives are falling apart. I couldn't believe He'd take my job away but, as I look back, I see that He saved my life. Sometimes we can only see His love and care from the other side of the valley.

3. I will bring you back to this land. No one wants to dwell in sorrow, frustration, or despair. I've sat in many a pit, losing all hope that things would ever change. We might wonder if life will ever be normal again. But God never leaves us where we are. He reaches out to take our hands and to lead us back to peace and joy.

4. What I have promised you. I wish God promised to give me what I asked for, don't you? He doesn't promise to keep us happy. He doesn't promise an easy life. Scripture says He always has our best in mind. That doesn't make any sense when we're stuck in the desert. We define "best" as the world defines it, not as God defines it. He works for our eternal best: to mold us into the image of His Son. His presence, His love, His work to restore us - these promises sustain us.

When Jacob woke up, his circumstances hadn't changed. He was still running from Esau. He was still out in the middle of nowhere. But one thing had changed: He knew God was with him. He was stunned to realize that God was there, even though he'd been blind to it.

Most of the time, our circumstances don't change. We curl up in hopelessness and forget that God's with us. But His voice breaks through and He lifts us up with His promises. He won't transform our circumstances but He does transform us.

When have God's promises provided stability in your life when your circumstances shook you to the core?

Photo credits: 12


  1. How wonderful! I'm so blest reading these. thank you, Sherry, my friend, for sharing this today.

    1. It's been one of those weeks when I needed a drink of water in the desert! I'm glad it blessed you, Carole.