And the LORD will guide you continually
and satisfy your desires in scorched places
and make your bones strong
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
Whose waters do not fail.
– Isaiah 58:11 ESV
What areas of your life are scorched places, where do you feel you are unable to grow or thrive or are feeling is a complete disaster? Are you in the midst of relationship issues with a spouse or wayward child, or struggling to make ends meet or maybe your health is failing and every faltering step forward feels too hard. Or maybe you are walking through the charred barrenness overwhelmed with heartache and grief without an end to it in sight.
When in a scorched place, do you not desire God to guide you and enable you to have all you need to grow or thrive like a watered garden with an endless supply of fresh spring waters?
He promises in this passage that He is continually leading you even when in those hard scorch places. And in the midst of those hard dry disastrous places He will provide and satisfy our desires. This may happen in ways we do not expect and situations where we least expect it.
We lived in Arizona for six years and some areas of the dessert are beautiful and full of things to look at but others that are parched and scorched by heat or fire have very little to draw our attention. One redeeming quality of being in a scorched place is that there is very little to distract us from God and our need for Him. We thirst for God like a man living in a desert without water.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
– Psalm 63:1 ESV
After my health tanked in late 2009, I found so many of my true heart’s desires have been provided in the heat of suffering and deserts of loneliness or great need. He has continually lead me step by step and my path has taken many unexpected turns. In the heat He refines me and teaches me to be more dependent on Him and to worship Him in the dark and dry places as well as in the well watered areas of my life. My faith has grown, as has my trust in His sovereignty, faithfulness, goodness and wisdom so much more in the seasons of disaster or in the heat of suffering.
Running to God and resting in Him I find a refuge, a perfect oasis of comfort and peace in the barren desolate scorched places.
“Nothing has more powerfully shaped me — my theology, my character, my love for God and for others — than suffering.” – Vaneetha Randall Risner Read her article here:
Hudson Taylor, the well-known missionary to China in the 1800s, has this to say, “The deepest, most precious, and most abiding spiritual lessons, which God has been pleased to teach me were learned in consequence of enduring my various experiences of sickness. . . . I feel it would have been nothing short of a calamity to have missed the physical suffering thro which I have passed. . . . I am positive that I have sometimes met with God’s refusal to heal when I have been most in fellowship with him.“
God has met me, satisfied my deepest inner longings and lead me continually in the scorched places. My well watered garden, watered by His living water, is growing fruits of the Spirit like love, joy and peace and so on as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. I pray I will ever be fruitful even in the most severe droughts of suffering or hardships. I also pray this for each of you who read this.
Scorched Places – Isaiah 58:11
My soul has dwelt in scorched places where day and without rest.
Yet, my God met me with His peace, joy and strength for each test.
My LORD continually guides me to His oasis in the scorched place
Where He ever satisfies me with the living waters of His grace.
– Deborah Peabody February 13, 2020
My husband and I at an oasis called Papago Park in Phoenix, AZ in March 2011.