Streams in The Desert

Psalm 66:6

It is a profound statement that “through the waters” [Psalm 66:6, emphasis added], the very place where we might have expected nothing but trembling, terror, anguish and dismay, the children of Israel stopped to “rejoice in him”!

How many of us can relate to this experience? Who of us, right in the midst of our time of distress and sadness, have been able to triumph and rejoice, as the Israelites did?

How close God is to us through his promises, and how brightly those promises shine! Yet during times of prosperity, we lose sight of their brilliance. In the way the sun at noon hides the stars from sight, his promises become indiscernible. But when night falls—the deep, dark night of sorrow—a host of stars begins to shine, bringing forth God’s blessed constellations of hope, and promises of comfort from his Word.

Just as Jacob experienced at Jabbok, it is only once the sun sets that the angel of the Lord comes, wrestles with us, and we can overcome [see Genesis 32:22–31]. It was at night, “at twilight” (Exodus 30:8), that Aaron lit the sanctuary lamps. And it is often during nights of trouble that the brightest lamps of believers are set ablaze.

It was during a dark time of loneliness and exile that John had the glorious vision of his Redeemer. Many of us today have our “island of Patmos” (Revelation 1:9), which produces the brightest memories of God’s enduring presence, uplifting grace and love in spite of solitude and sadness.

How many travelers today, still passing through their Red Seas and Jordan Rivers of earthly affliction, will be able to look back from eternity, filled with memories of God’s great goodness, and say, “We ‘passed through the waters on foot.’ And yet, even in these dark experiences, with waves surging all around, we stopped and said, ‘Let us rejoice in him!’”

~ J. R. Macduff ~


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