Sunday, April 26, 2015

Deserts

When I think of a desert, I usually picture something like this:


Or maybe something like this:


No matter which desert you're thinking of, one thing is consistent: deserts are dry.  Whether they're hot or cold (yes, I learned that there are even cold deserts!), sandy or rocky, in Africa or North America, every desert on this earth is dry.

But have you ever thought that sometimes a desert looks more like this?


In this kind of desert it is a person's soul that is dry rather than the climate.  It is a place where we find ourselves beaten by the winds of discouragement and scorched by the cruelty of our world.  It is a place where we thirst for renewal and refreshment in God's presence, but sometimes we just can't seem to find Him.

A spiritual desert is a difficult place to be, and if you've ever found yourself in one you know that life can start to feel a little hopeless.

As if you will die of thirst before it is ever quenched.

King David knew what it was like to be in a desert.  He wrote these words in Psalm 61:1 -- 
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
Can you relate?  Do you know what it feels like for your spirit to be parched with thirst for His presence?

I know I do.  I know I've had times when God has seemed so very distant, where it feels like I can't take one more step without Him and yet no matter how hard I try, my heart can't find Him.

Hopeless.

And yet I am able to write this today because God has proven again and again that we are never, ever without hope.  No matter how desolate life feels, our God still reigns.  Even when we feel so very distant from our Heavenly Father, we can be assured that we will never be completely separated from Him.  Romans 8:35-39 assures us that nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus.  And when our spirits long for the cooling water of His presence, we can draw on His promise in Isaiah 43:20 ~ I will make rivers in the dry wasteland where my people can be refreshed.

A spiritual desert does not have to be a place where our faith shrivels and dies.

Instead, it can be a place where our faith is made stronger, where our character is shaped more fully into that of our Father.  A place we learn to work hard in our pursuit of God. 

Over the next few days I'm going to share a couple of posts with you that talk about spiritual deserts.  We're going to talk about why we end up there, and how we can find our way out safely on the other side.  I hope you will journey with me.

See you tomorrow.



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