We’ve waited for so long. We’ve held onto hope; we’ve received it from the source time and time again as He has extended it to us with His great faithfulness and love. But still we wait. Initially, we thought it might be over in just a few weeks. So, we waited. Then, we thought it might be finished in a couple of months. So, we waited some more. Month after month, we’ve waited. And this week, we recognized the one-year anniversary of the day that the first Covid-19 cases were identified in the state of Michigan. One year! A whole year! A new school year of classes have enrolled at Oakwood Preschool. People have changed jobs, moved houses, babies have been born, loved ones lost. A year has gone by. In some ways, that is hard to believe. In other ways, it has sometimes felt like, it’s only been ONE year? It feels like it’s been forever! We, like kids in the back seat, keep asking God, “Are we there yet? How much longer?”
This week, stepping outside into the unseasonably balmy temperatures, I can’t help but be encouraged. We step into hope. As we notice the shrinking piles of frozen snow, we breathe in the hope of spring, a new season, a fresh start. We acknowledge the hope of vaccinations being administered around the world. Yet, the reality of social-distancing, event-cancellations, and mask-wearing still looms. It’s been an entire year… and still, we wait. We are feeling parched, drained from the effects of what we have been missing for the past year. We still face the realities of half-empty restaurants, of limited-spectator sporting and performance events, of empty arms void of much-needed hugs. We are thirsty for normalcy, trapped in a barren wilderness where we can only cry out, “Will it ever come to an end?” In the words of the Psalmists, “How long? Oh Lord, How Long?”
Yet, just as the winter snow promises the coming of spring, there is a life-source promising to quench our withered, barren hearts. Throughout this year, Isaiah 35:2 has been held before me, “…they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.” Not that I haven’t had frustration in the past year, but on the whole, this verse has kept me focused on what God is doing, on what will come on the other side of all the trappings of man, woman, child and virus.
There’s a song that grasps this hope that God holds out for us. Appropriately enough, it’s called Isaiah Song and it’s by Maverick City. Here’s a link if you wish to listen. The song speaks of the emptiness that we all feel from time to time, and of God as the well, the source from which we can be filled. As I think about Isaiah 35:2, the one-year anniversary of COVID 19’s impact on our lives, and the hope of a new season, I find this song to be a humble prayer that God would fill us, and the celebration that He does. That hope in Christ is secure. That the Holy Spirit is with us. That we are not as alone as we sometimes feel; we are not just a barren wasteland with no hope. No, in this season of barrenness: of empty arms longing for hugs, of the desire to see a smile in the aisle at Leppink’s, the longing to see restaurants full of happy people and every church chair filled. In this season, the God who’s faithfulness is so great, is still faithful, still more than enough for us, still worthy of our praise.
In this season we can still sing, because the well of Living Water will never run empty and never run dry. He stands from age to age and this Holy God we love and serve will be known in this world. We can hope, even a year into COVID 19, because the whole world “Will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.” He is the river in this desert, and He is at work. The Church is being re-formed, people are rising up with hope, even though the devil had hoped this would prevent gatherings of believers, we have adapted, overcome, and are actively pursuing the Source of Life.
Beloved, our hope is secure. His life is flowing into you, into me. In this season, you are not abandoned. He’s making a new way to you. Offering you and the Church across the world new opportunities to come to Him and be filled. God the Father, Son, and Spirit is the well that never runs dry!
This is both an awesome comfort and a tremendous challenge to us. God is the Living Water. He’s the Source of life and hope. Faithful through the ages is He. While our souls may still feel parched, we are invited to come, to journey to Him. While we may feel as though we have nothing left, He invites us to believe. While we may yet feel barren, we are invited to sing. While we may be empty, He invites us to be open to Him, to surrender our real estate, as desolate as it may be, to Him.
As we continue to wait, let your emptiness be your offering to God. Surrender yourself to Him. Believe that He is the well. Invite His refreshing. Let your bucket down into the Well and draw from Him. In short, heed the invitation we heard last week from Isaiah 55: Come, listen, eat, drink, sing! What was a barren season is giving birth right now, that “they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.”