(A Satisfied Life)

And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11 NASB

When I was a little girl, my parents owned a beautiful fruit farm just miles from Niagara Falls.  The farmland in that part of the country is dark, fertile, and rich, and the farms are plentiful and bursting with gloriously delicious produce.  

My father’s farm did not disappoint. He had 25 acres of apples and peaches that he had planted and a myriad of other products scattered here and there.  On the farm, I learned how to pick strawberries, grapes, and asparagus, find the perfect apple or peach, take a bite of two, discard it and then search for another.  The fruit was so plentiful.  

My parents had a small fruit stand out front with an old tin can for people to put their money after they picked out their produce.  Back then, people were mostly honest, and the can was always there at the end of the day.  My dad hired migrant workers for several days each fall to pick the orchard clean; that was always an exciting time when the cold storage became filled to the brim.  

My sister and I spent hours in the barn’s hayloft- where we were repeatedly told NOT to go.  Of course, my mother could always tell where we had been by the amount of hay in our hats and mittens.  

My parents cleaned out an old chicken coup and made us a playhouse with a small table, chairs, sofa, bed, and curtained windows with boxes full of geraniums.  It was a magical place to begin my life.  My parents named the farm Lakeview Farms. It was the highest elevation in the county, and from the back meadow, we could see Lake Ontario on a clear day.  

The back meadow had tall silky grass, and when we got tired of admiring the view of the lake, we would lie down in that tall lush grass and watch the beautiful clouds float by.  Because of the fertile farmland, there was never a time I remember when the grass was scorched or parched.  As you can imagine, whenever I am asked to envision a place of peacefulness- this is where my head goes first.  “He makes me lie down in green pastures” has taken on a life of its own, drawing on my childhood memories.  Farm life was a satisfying life!

So much of the Bible comes alive when I read about the lushness of the promised land inhabited by God’s people.  Last year, I was able to go and see Israel for myself.  What a treasured experience that helped me envision much of the Bible’s geography.  

As I have read Isaiah this month, I have enjoyed the imagery used to describe the inner life of those who follow wholly after the Lord.  

“And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”  This imagery describes the inner life of a true worshipper of Jesus.  Not one who pays respect from time to time but one whose life is devoted fully to the Lord, without reserve.  

“You will be like a well-watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”   What a lovely way to describe the inner life of a person living a life honoring to Jesus.  It is a well-watered, sweet-smelling, and sparkling life for those around them to enjoy.  This inner life of a Jesus lover has a spring of water that never fails; no matter the circumstances, the water continues to flow.  I want that kind of life.  I imagine you do, too.  

But the word in this verse that stood out the most to me is SATISFY.  “He will satisfy his children’s desire in scorched places.”  In Hebrew, the word, satisfy, can also be defined as filled or fulfilled.  That is a fantastic promise for God’s children.  We will be fulfilled when we walk with him in unreserved closeness, following his every move, even in those scorched places.  What a promise!  What an amazing God!  

Years ago, we had a missionary come for Sunday dinner. I wanted my kids to learn about the amazing God we serve. The missionary couple was stoic and not exactly charming. During the dinner, in my desire to make conversation, I asked the couple if their life on the mission field had been satisfying. The husband scowled and told me he wasn’t there to be satisfied but to serve the Lord. In his mind, these were completely different things. But according to Isaiah 58:11, he was wrong. The Lord satisfies his children- he fills us and fulfills us when we walk closely with him, even in the scorched places.

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