Making a Way in the Desert

The media has been featuring the best (and worst) of 2011, and like many of you, I am sucked into watching these list-making programs just to see a summary of what really made headlines in 2011.  One of the year’s most-covered stories was about the shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords in Arizona and her subsequent work of recovery from a traumatic brain injury.

Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly’s memoir, called Gabby:  A Story of Courage and Hope, was recently released in November.  As the story goes, the couple was looking forward to consulting a fertility specialist in early 2011 and hopefully having their first child by the end of the year.  This past Christmas ended up being very different from what they pictured a year ago, yet they still press forward.  Kelly shared his thoughts on the events of the year with author Jeff Zaslow:

You don’t get the life you planned.  That’s what Gabby and I have learned.  When things look bad, the only answer is to find a path through it.  What other choice do you have?

Gabby and Mark have learned that it’s possible to still find joy and hope, even in the most trying of circumstances.  Maybe you find yourself in their camp this year, stretched to your limit and trying to find a path through it, wondering if it’s even possible to have joy after suffering such disappointment and trouble.  Maybe you’re even wondering if God hears or cares about your misfortune and pain.

The nation of Judah had similar doubts about God’s care and concern for them, and the prophet Isaiah encouraged them (and us) by reminding  them they were  God’s special treasure:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze…Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland…(Isaiah 43:2, 18-19, NIV).

The promise of “making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” is still true for us today.  Even as we encounter trouble and misfortune, we are never alone.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are with us, keeping our heads above water, our feet from being burned.  The Triune God helps us find a new path through whatever circumstances we face.  And as Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly have learned, the new path, though different from our original plans, can have its own hope and joy.

~by Nan Kuhlman

4 comments so far

  1. Jane Hinrichs on

    I love this post. Thank you for the quote from Gabby’s book — that quote showed such wisdom and transparency.

    • Nan Kuhlman on


      I agree with you about the quote. The other thing I appreciate is the way Gabby and Mark have handled, at least publicly, their feelings toward the shooter. I think it shows again that they aren’t resisting what has happened, but are making a new way through it.

      Thanks for your comment,

  2. Ian Woodley on

    Thank you Nan for this post. I find it too easy to judge God’s faithfulness based on how I am feeling at this moment in time. When bad times come, I doubt the love of God.
    Thank you for reminding us all that God’s care and concern is unaffected by the troubles of our lives.
    Kind Regards
    Ian Woodley

    • Nan Kuhlman on


      You make a good point that we tend to evaluate God’s love for us based on how we feel, and while our feelings are subject to change, the Triune God’s love never changes.

      Thanks for your comment,

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