Friendly Desert

  "And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my beloved Son and I am fully pleased with Him.' " Matthew 3:17....."Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted there by the devil." Matthew 4:1......"Generally speaking this series of events makes us a little uncomfortable. Can following God's Spirit lead us straight into a desert? Would obedience deposit us in a wasteland? Could God's loving will direct us to wander about in barren places?....In His love God led His Son into a place that was a desert by every definition of the word: physically barren, emotionally lonely, and spiritually troubled." Alicia Britt Chole


I'm not sure who said it, but it was stated that in His life, Jesus learned to call the desert His friend. Friend? This makes no sense to our comfort loving, success oriented lives. God loves us. Jesus came to save us. Desert and wilderness places do NOT fit into the promise of His "wonderful plan" for us. Yet as someone else said, the main aspect of His wonderful plan for you and me is "to make us holy." This doesn't happen in the midst of comfort and ease, applause and recognition. These are not friends to us at all. They do not bring us more deeply into His life. The desert and the wilderness do. Our flesh knows this, and so does the enemy of our souls, the devil. As Chloe says, "He seems to find his way into most deserts." And he'll attack us relentlessly there. He did so with Jesus and he'll do no less with us. He attacks with lies. Lies that seem so easy to believe in the desert. Jesus defeated him with what will always defeat him. Truth. His Truth.

In the desert it's so easy to feel we've been forgotten, even that we're being punished. If He loved us, was pleased with us, we wouldn't be here. That's the voice and reasoning of the enemy. But what did the Father say of Christ just before He was led out into that place? That He loved Him and was fully pleased with Him. Deserts can be a sign of His favor if we'll but have "eyes to see." It was in the desert that Christ secured victory, demonstrated His power, not in spectacular workings but with words alone. The words of the Kingdom. In the desert those words became totally real to Him. He who is the Living Word demonstrated the power of that Word in the wasteland. It could not have happened at an oasis. It had to happen in the wilderness.

Our human response to every desert is to cry out to be delivered of it. Get us out Lord....now. Yet Christ willingly remained there for 40 days. He knew the Father was doing something supernatural and miraculous, though His only audience was His Father and His enemy. The victory won there preceded the ultimate victory at the cross and in His resurrection. The stage for it all was set in the desert. It will be so for all who obediently follow His leading in all places, even in the wasteland. In that place He'll shape us, empower us, and draw us more completely to Himself. There He will give us a victory that will prepare us for even greater victories to come. That's why if we have been led into a desert by Him, that place can be our friend. Are we yielded enough to see it as such?

There are deserts we end up in as a result of our bad choices, or of sinful disobedience. If we're in a desert, we need to humbly ask if such may be the reason. But if we know there are no such reasons for us, than our part is to  yield to the leading, and submit to all He would do in and for us there. It prepares us for what He will do through us when we leave it. When we come out of the wasteland in such a way, greatness will no longer be defined as how much recognition we've received, and how large the audience before our lives is. It will be in the witness of the power of lives filled completely with His Life. A life that overcomes all things. A life that was discovered in the desert. What we thought was a wasteland was not a waste at all.

 

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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