Opening Rivers – Isaiah 41:17-18

“When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the LORD will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers in the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.”

Isaiah 41:17-18

“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:18-19

These verses in Isaiah 41 are such a special comfort to me. A reminder that even if I feel lost in a wilderness, even if I am weary and there seems to be no relief in sight, no matter how desperate or unchangeable circumstances may seem, my God can change everything dramatically with a word.

He hears my cries. He sees my struggle and understands it better than I do. And He will answer me because I am His child—chosen, loved, and never forsaken or forgotten. I can look over a barren landscape with joy, knowing that my Lord will open rivers to flow through it. He opens fountains in the midst of every valley. He transforms our wilderness into a pool of water. Our dry land will become springs.

The new things He has planned for me, for you, are springing forth. Release any haunting memories of the past so that they don’t hold you back. It’s easy to look back on all that’s happened in your life, particularly everything that didn’t work out as you hoped, and believe that those disappointments, hurts, and bad decisions will determine your future. But God is bigger than all of that. He is better. He is redeeming every piece of your story to bring Him glory and to shine with His brilliant grace. Instead of looking to the past or fixating on present bare heights, focus your gaze on the One who gave His life to save you, the One who has declared that nothing is impossible for Him, and who has promised to open rivers and fountains and springs in the exact places where it once looked hopeless.

Our Lord makes our wilderness like Eden, our desert like the garden of the Lord (Isaiah 51:3). Because He is here. He is active. He is transforming it with His grace and matchless power, seeing and satisfying our every need in abundance, overwhelming us with His faithfulness.

“I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.”
Joel 2:25-26

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