Typically an oasis is  found in the desert and is described as “a fertile spot where water is found.” It is also described (by the Oxford English Dictionary) as “A pleasant or peaceful area or period in the midst of a difficult or hectic place or situation. ” 

Here in Nigeria,  we are celebrating fifty-eight years of being liberated from British Colonial rule. And thus far it has been quite a journey. There have been ups and more downs. Sometimes it looked like we took one step forward and 100 steps backwards.  Other times it looked like we were just lost and did not know which way to go. Right now we are neither here nor there and we just take each day as it comes hoping and believing that the “PVC” ( permanent voters card) will perform a miracle when we go back to the polls in 2019. Well…, it remains to be seen.

Like Nigerians, there were a people who were liberated too. (from bondage, oppression and slavery). It was indeed a real miracle the way their deliverance was orchestrated. And they were just in awe of what God had done for them. “And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.” Exodus  14:31 KJV. Even though this had just happened, they were not automatically propelled to their promised land. It took some time to get there. They had to wander around for a bit in the wilderness and in the desert before getting it together and getting there. This is the story of the Israelites. Their first port of call, after wandering for a few days in the desert was an oasis called Marah.  (By now the food and water they brought from Egypt had been exhausted) But to their horror the water was bitter. Immediately, forgetting all that the Lord had just done for them, they began to grumble.  An oasis to them meant a refuge in the midst of the harsh desert conditions around them. But Marah initially failed to bring them relief.

Like the Israelites, our personal journey and collective journey as a people might be fraught with a tinge of bitterness here and there. Often times things do not go as we think they should. Then suddenly when the much awaited “change” or turnaround for the better shows up, our hopes are dashed again because of something (temporarily) unpleasant. And we begin to question the “change” , even wishing it had not happened. But the story of the Israelites did not end in the desert with an oasis of bitter water. Our story will not end here. Their story did change when Moses cried out to the Lord on their behalf. The water eventually became sweet after God intervened and instructed Moses to throw in a piece of wood/stick. “And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,” Exodus  15:25 KJV

Let us cry out to the Lord now that He may tell us what to do. And as we obey Him, He is able to turn things around.  After a refreshing time at the oasis of Marah,  the Israelites journeyed onwards and arrived at yet another oasis that was even more refreshing.  I believe that nothing happens without God allowing it; including the desert and wilderness experience. Let us therefore trust God and believe whatever  He said he would do even if what surrounds us has no semblance at all to what He has promised. He is slowly bringing us to the oasis without bitterness. “And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.” Exodus  15:27 KJV

Though Elim was so lush and productive,  they did not stay there forever. They had to keep moving.

Therefore as we  move on through life as individuals and as a people, let us know that the desert, the wilderness and the oasis are all part of  the journey and by the Grace of God we will make it through them all.

I pray that we find an “oasis without bitterness” where ever we are right now.

Happy Independence Day Anniversary.