"I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground" (Isaiah 44:3)
This theme is far from random as if the dry place just happens to be the arena of God's amazing dealings with his people. Instead, the desert is the chosen arena so that the Living God can make it clear that he is at work. Not an idol. Not humanity. But him.
"I will set pines in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it." (Isaiah 41:19-20).
It is so easy to attribute blessings to the wrong thing. Commonly it is ourselves to whom we give the credit. "I'm a self made (wo)man" we might say. Or we think some other person has got us out of trouble. Or worse, we attribute blessings to some false god of our own making.
The Lord knows this inclination and danger lurking in all our hearts and so, often times, he chooses the desert to do his most profound work. For when all is lost. When we are genuinely at the end of our tether. When there is no hope left. Then we are in a position to acknowledge that the Living God himself has done this because no one else could have.
It is a difficult truth to learn and appreciate but often the 'desert' parts of our lives - those times and seasons and things we most struggle with and want to change - can actually be the most fruitful seasons of spiritual growth for us if we walk through them with the Lord. For when he changes the desert into a pool, the parched land into a fountain, the thirsty land into a spring, then we give him the glory and respond in thankfulness and trust.
May the Lord give us grace to trust him to bring us through the barren place into the springs of living water. Amen.