Ash tickles my skin as it drifts aimlessly, settling in thick, variegated layers on my car. Smoke eclipses the morning sun and chokes the day. There’s a profound, uneasy feeling in my soul.
The world is so different now.
The pandemic has forever changed our lives in untold ways. Fires have destroyed homes and the Western U.S., where I live, seems like it’s burning up. Political differences and social unrest have divided our country. My mind searches for ways to redirect from the anxiety and pain everywhere.
I think it’s in our nature to focus on things that keep us occupied when it’s hard to process everything going on in the world.
During the pandemic, my husband and I undertook the biggest distraction of all. We decided to have our kitchen remodeled—a long-overdue project. With our busy school and soccer schedules halted, we had time on the weekends to pick countertops, backsplash, cabinets, and think about all the decorating choices.
As exciting as it is, I now understand when people say construction is stressful. Living on cement with no kitchen or a downstairs bathroom hasn’t been easy for a family of 6. But most of all, there have been so many decisions to make, and my husband and I have often been at odds.
One said disagreement was about which countertop we liked. Since I chose the cabinet style and color, we decided he would get a bigger say in the countertop. My husband loves natural stone called quartzite. He wanted to look at our countertop and be reminded of God’s magnificent creation.
But the quartzite slabs he liked were too busy to go with the floors we bought. He felt like he was settling, but I was thankful he agreed to pick a countertop that looked best with the flooring.
“It looks like the desert,” he grumbled, pointing out the creamy tan background, and I hoped he wouldn’t change his mind. I admired the swirling blue pattern meandering through the length of the slab.
“When I look at it I don’t see a desert. I see the gray-blue lines flowing through it like rivers and streams.”
And then I remembered my favorite devotional book, Streams in the Desert. In fact, it is the only devotional book I didn’t pack away during the remodel.
I went home and looked up the Bible verse about streams in the desert.
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43: 1-3
As trivial as countertops are among all that is going on in this world, I love how God uses the smallest things to remind us of His presence with us.
Life sometimes feels like falling into a river without a lifejacket. The current tosses us about and we need someone to save us. Relationships get rocky and we feel like we will crumble sometimes. But God always has a way of giving us hope no matter what the situation.
God can make a way for us when the way is blocked. He can do a new thing in our relationships and he can do a new thing in us. He shows us how to walk through our trials with Him by our side.
“Behold, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert” (emphasis mine Isaiah 43:19, Berean Study Bible).
Our loving Savior guides our hearts to what really matters in life—knowing Him. During our desert times in life, we discover how Jesus is our living water.
“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
If God created natural stone to be so unique and exquisite, how much more is he working to complete his purpose in us as he promised in His word?
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6 NLT).
God is in the business of making all things new and making beauty out of ashes.
“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory” (Isaiah 61:3 NLT).
When the big and small problems in life feel like they are overtaking us, God wants us to know he holds us up. He takes care of us.
I loved these reminders in Isaiah so much that I decided to order a personalized Bible with these verses printed on a blue cover. I chose blue to remind myself that when I go through the rivers of difficulty I will not drown. Jesus is my living water.
It’s easy to forget how much God loves us when we’re going through trials. That’s why I love having personal reminders of his love and care for me—whether it be a picture frame with my favorite verse, a personalized Bible or devotional, or yes… even a countertop.
Do you have a special verse the Lord has given to you?
Please share it in the comments below.
I love how Isaiah 43:1 says that God calls us by name and tells me I am
When I look at my name and the verse on my new Bible, I’ll remember God calls me by name. I am His.
No matter what happens in your circumstances, you can rest knowing you are His.
He has called you by name.
Would you like to order a personalized Bible? I love personalizedbibles.com! They have so many Bibles and devotionals to choose from.
I gave a gift of Streams in the Desert to a friend who had breast cancer. I’m happy to see they sell the same Duo-tone binding, which can also be personalized here.
You call me by name. I am yours. You never promised a world without trouble, but you promised to be with me in my troubles. We can take heart because you have given us reason to have hope, no matter what. When my life feels like a desert and I thirst for something new, you redeem me. When I long for something more, you show me wholeness in knowing you. Thank you for always being with me. For never leaving or forsaking me. For doing a new thing in me.