Another Day In The Desert


    Have you ever been in that place where your life just seems like another day in the desert?  Might you be there right now?  That desert place where everything seems exactly as it was yesterday, and as you look on the horizon, you see nothing to make you think that today will be any different.  The drab, barren landscape around you comprised of your emotions, circumstances, and difficulties, seems to stretch on forever, and there seems to be no end to your desert.  You wonder, is this where I'm going to die?  You keep moving, yet always circling the same mountain(s), moving, but seemingly, going nowhere.  More, you cannot understand why you're even here.  You know that for their unbelief, the Israelite's wandered in the desert for 40 years, yet you can honestly find no place where you are openly disobedient, no place where there is unconfessed sin, still, here you are.  In the desert.  And it seems like a lot longer than 40 years.
    We hate the desert, and our first impulse, our ongoing one, is to cry out to Him to bring us out, to end this misery.  We see nothing of value here, and our only concern is how quickly it might end.  Yet it doesn't end, and this will bring us face to face with both God and ourselves.  What will happen then?  Will we become as those spoken of in the 78th Psalm, who "rebelled against You in the desert, and grieved Your heart in the wilderness."  Or will this place become to us as it did to Christ.  A friend.  A friend because in it, if we will have it, will be discovered the deepest realities of who He is.  An intimacy entered into beyond anything that the green, lush meadows we long for could provide.  A knowledge of Him that comfort and ease could never bring, and can only be found by looking beyond those horizons unto His horizon, and see beyond that dry and weary place to the overflowing water of His life.  Discovering that what we see in Him is no mirage, but a reality that the desert has brought us to, and a place of life in the midst of what seemed to be death.  
The place we believed to be nowhere, was instead the gateway into the beauty of having all things in Christ.  In the barren place, we become fruitful.
    In Isaiah 48:17, God speaks, "I am the Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go."  Commenting on this Chris Tiegreen says that when we balk at following Him, even if that means going into a personal desert wilderness, we suspect that "God doesn't have our best in mind, that we'll have to look out for ourselves.....that His way will not work out to our advantage in the end."  Have any of those or similar thoughts crept into your heart during this time?  Have we begun in that desert place to question the goodness of God?  I heard Margaret Feinberg speak recently of her own longlasting desert place.  She said the situations had pressed in upon her to the extent that she found herself weeping in her kitchen, lying on her back on the floor.  She said she then heard His Spirit lead her to simply say, in that place, "God is good.  God is on the throne.  Breathe in.  Breathe out."  In her desert, she could say that God was good, even when her life was not.  In her desert, she discovered how powerfully true that was.  Can we?  Let us speak with our lips the truth of His goodness in the midst of the desert.  Let us breathe with spiritual lungs, the life giving air of His Holy Spirit.  In that, we go on, and though it may seem we're still going nowhere, we know in our hearts, we journey ever deeper into His life.  The life no desert can extinquish, and indeed, in that desert, we discover anew His abundance.

Pastor O


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   May 2019   
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