A Refreshing New River
A devotional by Sharon Musgrove
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the field will thank me, the jackals and owls too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my people can be refreshed.”
~Isaiah 43:19-20 (NLT)
Recently, my husband and I drove south, down the I-5 corridor, through Northern California. We were taking the trip to witness my Grandfather’s entombment. The landscape was dry, rocky riverbeds laid open, and trees reached long arms in search of water. Despite the winter season, the terrain cried of its recent forest fires. I had been made aware of the drought and wild fires through the National news. However, driving through this territory, in the tracks of death and grief, I felt akin to a dry riverbed and an outstretched tree. My heart was cracked and brittle from parched hours of watching a precious life go. My eyes were seeing in this landscape what my heart was grieving. God used this trip to help me see more fully His love.
God does not leave His children in a wasteland. His heart is for renewal of life! Scripture repeats this beating of God’s heart like the hospital monitor I had spent so many hours watching. The Israelites entered the promised land (Joshua 24:28), Job’s fortunes were restored (Job 42:10), and Jesus came that we might have a life of freedom, good pastures and abundance (John 10:9-10). The constant, familiar beating comforts, but change sets off alarms throwing me into a fear that keeps me staring at death rather than trusting God and His renewal process.
For my Grandfather, the changes in his heart rhythms were indications of something new. For months he had been praying for his life to come to an end because that life had become his dry wasteland. I heard him say repeatedly, “I am ready to go,” yet our last conversation was over “one regret.” That regret kept my Grandfather’s eyes fixed on the wasteland and tethered to his life. His eyes, like that of the jackal or owl were staring at empty burrows and dry riverbeds for life.
It was here, along the California freeway, that I too found a choice in where I cast my eyes. I could stare long at regret and loss and choose to live in desolation and sadness, or I could look to something new. Now following the Interstate northbound, we headed home. Having turned, this same pathway now revealed something new…snow in the mountains! Little did I know that while I was traveling in the desert, my eyes downcast, God was preparing refreshment on the high hills. God's magnificent nature was doing what it thrives on doing…renewal! I could see it! He had already begun storing up the waters that would refresh this dry and thirsty land!
In an instant I felt refreshed! My heart swelled with joy and my spirit knew hope renewed! The compass on my outlook on Grandfather's life had been reset to true north. My eyes were no longer downcast nor my grieving heart. My Grandfather had lived a lifetime with Jesus and was now resting in peace with the hope of eternity. The California landscape might have to continue to be as patient as an old man living a challenging life, but I know I can access the refreshment today.
Sharon Musgrove is a self-proclaimed sociologist. The opportunities opened to her, over the years, have led her on a fascinating journey observing human behavior.
She has a diverse background in business, fitness and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both recovery programs served women primarily from the homeless community.
Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She's been privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.
Easily identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she's served, Sharon now sees all people as needing more encouragement regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status. Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.
In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, make their home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They have two grown children. Currently, Sharon is writing her first Christian historical fiction novel utilizing her study, experience, and understanding of self-destructive behaviors.