Rivers in the Wasteland by Danielah Castellini

August 18th, 2022 | TJCII Blog

Change is something that is always happening in our world, whether small or large changes often seem to take us by surprise. The seasons change every year, and we expect that at some point the weather will be hotter or colder. Yet, the date of the first crisp morning in the Fall that requires a jacket tends seems to change slightly every year. Life events, such as new school years, holidays and lifecycle moments can also sneak up on us.

Sometimes it is not the events themselves but the changes they bring that cause apprehension. For example, several countries have experienced or will soon experience elections this year. The level of uncertainty that accompanies such events can be challenging in many aspects of life.

No matter the circumstance or type of change, Isaiah 43:19 gives us insight into how God wants his followers to perceive shifts in life around us. The language in this verse indicates that God wants us to look forward to change with anticipation, and perhaps even excitement. When we first read this verse, it is easy to take the English translation as simply “God is doing a new thing.” However, when we consult the Hebrew words used in this verse, the first word translated as “Here I am” is Hineni.

There are numerous times throughout scripture where this specific word is used. Hineni not only indicates that God is taking action, but that God is in the action. Hineni is used in Isaiah 28:16 when God says, “Therefore thus says Adonai Elohim: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone, a firm foundation— whoever trusts will not flee in haste.” This verse of course referring to the Messiah as the “cornerstone,” perhaps the most significant change in history aside from creation.

It is also found in Exodus 14:17 where God intentionally hardens the hearts Egyptians in order for his glory to magnified in freeing the Israelites. “Then I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will go in after them, so that I will be glorified over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots and his horsemen.”

In each instance, God is intentionally allowing change to occur in order for his will to come about. The question that follows, “do you not know about it,” challenges believers to focus on finding God in the changes we see around us, even when they do not make sense in the moment. As the end of Isaiah 43:19 tells us, God not only wants, he plans to make “a way in the desert” and “rivers in the wasteland.” Let this serve as a reminder that no matter what changes you are going through in this season of life that God is in them. Whatever your “wasteland” may you be encouraged that God WILL bring a river through it in his perfect timing.

TJCII is a river God has made in an often relationally deprived world. May we continue to lift each other up in prayer as regions, countries, denominations, congregations, families, and as individuals, because no matter the changes that come on each level we know that God is there paving the way.