He Fills the Hungry with Good Things

Wildflowers on Rogers Peak, Death Valley National Park, California

Wildflowers on Rogers Peak, Death Valley National Park, California

I’ve been posting quite a bit about how people view the desert as a poor place to be – a place of dryness and unfulfillment; of heat and drought and sorrow.  It’s true that the Bible talks about the desert in that way.  For example, in Psalm 107, the psalmist says,

 

“Some [people] wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.  They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.  Then they cried out to the Lord in the trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.  He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.  Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” (vv. 4-9)

New greenery in the Lava Cast Forest, Newberry Volcanic National Monument, Oregon

New greenery in the Lava Cast Forest, Newberry Volcanic National Monument, Oregon

You don’t get the impression from those verses that the “desert wastelands” were exactly God’s blessed inheritance for His people.

Burned over desert along the Big Balanced Rock Trail in Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Burned over desert along the Big Balanced Rock Trail in Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

I have a friend who feels she is going through a time in the desert.  She has prayed and prayed for a miracle, and while I believe with her that it will come, it has been long years that she has believed and hoped with incredible faith, and she feels dry and weary.  I don’t want to discount that type of experience here.  The desert isn’t always a fun place to be (especially when it’s about 120F, and that’s without the radiating sun and rocks).

Mussleman Arch, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Mussleman Arch, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

But the truth of the matter is that God “satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” (Psalm 107:9).  It’s not that God doesn’t come to us in the times when we feel we have feasted on the abundance of God’s house and drunk from the river of His delights (Psalm 36:8).  He does.  But the starkness of the contrast of God – Who is all in all, and gives good gifts (Ephesians 4:6; James 1:17) – and our desperate inability to thrive in the desert brings home the sheer goodness of God.

Nevada's only glacier on Wheeler Peak, Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Nevada’s only glacier on Wheeler Peak, Great Basin National Park, Nevada

It’s in the stark contrast that God appears even bigger and even greater than we thought before.  We can see His majesty, because we aren’t blinded by being full and satisfied.  We find Him even sweeter, because we’re hungry for His words (Psalm 119:103).

Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams from the Timberline Trail near the Vista Ridge Trail, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon

Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams from the Timberline Trail near the Vista Ridge Trail, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon

And so my heart seems to be embracing the desert in a new way.  Not because I want to struggle through, but because God is calling me again to see Him in the stark contrast of the desert while He satisfies my hunger and thirst with good things.