In the desert places of life it is uncomfortable, challenging a real struggle to be sure.
There are blessings to be found, uncovered, noticed and clung to in every desert.
How can there be blessings in the discomfort and trials of the desert? How is it possible that amid trials, difficulties, unemployment, sickness, loss and addiction to find hope? In short, we know who is the source of our desert oasis.
The desert is an opportunity to approach all of life from a refined perspective. Though the desert is hard to walk through with burning hot sand and scorching sun rays beating down, the desert is a place where miracles happen.
If we are honest with ourselves we tend to go through life with our heads buried in the sand. We go through life, walking a day at a time believing that we have the answers, that we know what tomorrow holds and that we are in control of our destiny.
Then life gives us a curveball. The call from the doctor. The lay off. The passing of a loved one we never even considered we would have to live without. The curveballs cause us to shift.
We must shift our thinking, shift our approach to life and relationships, shift our intimacy with Christ. As we walk through the desert we will come upon an oasis – a wellspring of life, a renewed hope, a fresh drink of a new perspective.
Picture this, you are standing on the edge of the desert oasis. There are palm trees and brightly colored flowers. The air smells sweet from the luscious flowers. You sit down beside the water, and dip your hand in. The water feels perfectly cool, just the right temperature. The water is clear, you see your reflection – you notice you are smiling for the first time in a long time.
You cup your hands together and reach down to take a drink. It tastes better than Smartwater. This water quenches your parched throat. This water soothes the panic of your soul. The oasis has calmed your heart and mind. You have found a place of rest.
As you pause there for a moment, you finally look up and out around you. You realize that the desert has not gone away. The desert is still there. Real and hot as ever. You can see the heat waves in the distance as the sun beats down.
The desert exists around you, but it doesn’t consume you. The desert may test you, make you weary, worn, parched and burnt. The desert will bring you to your knees, but the desert does not get to have the final say.
Deuteronomy 2:7 says, “The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything. (NIV)
This desert oasis imagery is a vision of God’s provision in the middle of the desert. But His provision, comfort and peace expand even beyond the small oasis. It extends to each and every step we take through the desert.
Just like the Israelites we are not and have not been alone. God has been there when we stumbled. He has been there when we felt strong. He has been there when we didn’t think we could take one more step. Somehow through the loneliest of the desert nights the Holy Spirit shows up and teaches us. Instructs us and reminds us of the truth of the word of God. Hold His promises tightly.
Hold His promises tightly today, before you find yourself in a desert. Cling to them now, so that when the desert does come, you will have the truth of the word of God etched into your heart.
My prayer for you today is that you look back over your journey, whether it’s been forty years, eighty or eighteen, and reflect on how God has been with you each and every step of the way. Reflect on how as you walked the hard days of your past there were days you felt alone, but now looking back you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had a plan for it all. Didn’t he?
As you go about your week, thank God that though this is a season of pain, heartache, of job difficulties – praise him that He is with you. Even when you can’t feel it, He is still with you. One of my favorite songs over the last several months has been Raise a Hallelujah by Bethel. The song has encouraged my heart over and over that when I raise a song of praise in the middle of the desert, or in the middle of the storm and pain, I raise it in front of my enemy. Just like the desert does not have the final say, neither does the enemy.
So brother and sister, Raise your Hallelujah today in the presence of the enemy, and in the middle of your desert. Remember the God of the Israelites – who clothed them, provided food, shelter, clothing, water and more is the same God who fights for you now.