This time of year in the South we are all waiting. Waiting with visions of crisp cool breezes, rustling leaves, apples, campfires and all things pumpkin dancing behind our eyelids. Waiting for the heat, which excited us with its possibilities back in March, to finally make its exit. And we’re not sure it is ever going to happen. Because, y’all, it’s 94 degrees here with 87% humidity; you could fry an egg on the pavement in our cul de sac (don’t tell my boys that — they will try it).
So we wait …
And we wait …
And as football season kicks off, we become more anxious. We pull on our jeans with our flip-flops, navigate our tailgates and cheer on our teams (Go Dawgs!) But. Oh. My. Goodness. The sweat. We scan our weather apps for signs that it is coming, this fall that the rest of the nation speaks of. And every day, the topic of conversation at the bus stop centers around a cool breeze that someone felt earlier — because maybe, just maybe, the heat will break by this weekend.
Parched and a little weary, we are all drawn toward the promise of what is next.
Like sweaty boys running toward the Gatorade cooler after a game, we push onward because we know that refreshment is out there. We just can’t quite taste it yet.
And you know how this works, right? Whether fall has already come your way or whether it is summer you love, you know about the waiting places. The “I need what’s next seasons.”
I am terrible at navigating these parts of life. Forward motion is more my gig. No good can come from standing still, right? Anxious to just get going, I bounce impatiently on my tip toes and peer over the edge into this new season.
So it really shouldn’t shock me that God uses sweaty boys and Gatorade to slow my pace. It isn’t exactly a word of Scripture that I am expecting when my gang comes racing and stomping into the house.
They have nearly taken each other out in their nightly game of big boys versus the little guy — super unfair driveway basketball. And nothing can quiet their squabbling and shoving or erase the smell of sweaty shoes wafting through the air. Nothing. So, I bring out the Gatorades; the orange kind that leaves that telltale mustache right under your nose. I open the bottles and hold them out into the heat of the moment.
And they stop. They stop fighting. They stop whining. They stop moving. They stand still and drink long slow sips of the precious liquid.
And right there in my own smelly kitchen with the sticky hot breeze blowing in through the open screen door and the sink piled high with unwashed dinner pots, God whispers this verse to my anxious waiting heart.
“See I am doing a new thing! Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland… I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”(Isaiah 43:19-21).
Seriously, God will go to any length to get me to listen. The boys keep chugging the sweetness of the thirst quenching drink, and God works slowly on the parts of my heart that hate to be still.
“See I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)
These are words of God spoken through the prophet Isaiah to the weary and parched Israelites — God’s people, whom he had formed, but who didn’t trust him. God’s people who turned their backs on his plans and began to plot their own. God’s thirsty people who thought they could provide their own water and make their own way out of the desert. God’s people who were in a hurry to get on with it, to move through the hot and hard waiting parts and get to the good stuff. Yeah, my heart cringes as I get it.
I want so badly to hurry through the hard. I see no need for summer to drag on like this; no need for the challenge of a complicated relationship, for the sickness to continue, for the difficult situation. No need to walk through it. Let’s just keep moving on to the next thing.
But I watch the sweaty boys drink until they are filled. “When you are thirsty, this is the best stuff ever,” the mustached little one declares.
And I hear the promise from that verse, “water in the desert, streams of waterin the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19-21).
You see, water in the lush green of everything going right is just water. But water in the desert? It is life, breath and sustenance. It is holy and revered. It is guzzled down with great joy. It is Gatorade after a hot night of basketball.
And streams in the wasteland? They are unexpected sources of amazement.They are pointed out and rejoiced over because they are changing the landscape of hopelessness. Unexpected Gatorade after dinner amid arguing brothers. I stand still in the warmth of the crowded kitchen, and it sinks in slowly.
Summer could last another month here. Life could stay a whole lot the same; dry and hot. And I have a choice. I can hurry through the rest of this season with my eyes on what’s next, or I can stop and drink the Gatorade and let God do the leading into this new thing.
Rowdy boys grin over at me with orange mustaches and toss empty bottles into the bin as the sun’s last light casts evening shadows across the array of smelly shoes on the floor. And somehow it all seems holy?
Friends, don’t think for a moment that God doesn’t know where you stand. Don’t think that there is new place you are walking or an old dusty road you are stuck on where he cannot get to you. And if it seems hot and dry and never ending where you are. Then know this:
He delights to bring out the Gatorade cooler. He delights to have us taste the sweetness of a drink in the hollow dryness of a wasteland; a drink we don’t deserve, a drink that we didn’t earn or create.
A drink simply because we are his. Because he formed us. And he knows us.
Jesus said, I have come that you might have life and have it to the full. God’s plan that we might drink until we have been marked so deeply by his love that we can’t stop seeking after the source of that quenching.
His plan that we would turn our Gatorade mustached faces right towards his and see how he loves us. Even in the desert. Even in the wasteland. Water, streams of life giving water. God doing a new thing.
Can we stop and perceive it? Can we walk through the desert, through the challenging, waiting seasons and trust? Trust that he goes before us. Trust that he makes a way. Trust. And then stop and drink the Gatorade.
“See I am doing a new thing! Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland… I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.” (Isaiah 43:19-21).
This article originally appeared LeighSain.com.