I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of drought.
It’s a topic we don’t address often as women, as Christians and as believers – “The Spiritual Desert.” What happens when you don’t desire God? When you can’t connect with God? What happens when you don’t feel or hear God? Oftentimes we are too ashamed to talk about the topic, mainly because it involves us owning up to the fact that we aren’t perfect Christians, and that we are allowing our flesh to reign over God’s power within us. But why hide such a pivotal point in our Christian walk? Why consider it such a taboo topic? What is so bad about not wanting to seek God or desire time with God? Have we become so legalistic that we are driven by our mere theology and the expectations set before us that dictate what a walk with Christ “should”
Let’s face it, sometimes there aren’t any sermons, worship songs, personal prayers, journaling or repentance that will make you “feel” or “want” God. It is in this desert that you can rest in the assurance, “Be still and know that I am God.” God knows our hearts; He already knew that we’d fall short, that we’d turn our face from him and that He won’t always be the first desire of our hearts. In Genesis 4:14-15, after killing Abel, Cain said to God, “my guilt is too heavy, I should be killed for my sins.” Yet, our ever patient Father just replies with a simple, “Not so.” Cain was forgiven by God and God protected him, despite Cain’s rebellion. We are not so perfect that we won’t fail, we are not so strong that we won’t need him to drag us through the valleys. We are not, but HE IS! He is stronger, he is faithful, he is patient and he is always with us, even when we don’t desire.
So what’s a fellow Christian to do when they don’t desire God? Does this mean we retreat back to sin? Does this mean we quit going to church all together and skip out on community? Absolutely not. What it does mean is that it’s OK to sit and wait. To step back and soak in silence, and have others encourage and pray over you during your desert. It means you should set your pride aside, humble yourself and instead of white- knuckling and pushing through, let God come to you. Let God meet you in your desert – He is after all, the living water. He promises to lead us to rivers of living water. Job 17:9 states, “the righteous keep moving forward” — The righteous just put one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. Righteousness is already yours the day you accepted Christ. As long as you push through the season, your salvation remains intact, and your God remains a loving Father. What’s astounding is the Father is faithfully empowering you to put one foot in front of the other. You remain a child of the most High. You move forward, pleading with God to help you put one foot in front of the other. Day by day you ask God to let the ember burn like a flame once again -David did it countless times throughout the book of Psalms. He submitted his anger, his fear, his loss of purpose and direction unto God and God always answered his pleas.
“For the LORD your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing.”‘
God gave this word to Moses while the Israelites wandered the desert; his purpose for this particular verse was so that his chosen people would seek comfort only in him and depend solely on him. The Lord knew the Israelites would wander the desert for 40 years. In those 40 years, he knew what would settle in their hearts. He knew they’d wander, they’d rebel, they’d fall away and dry up — yet He clearly states that he was with them and they lacked nothing. They may have felt like they lacked spirituality and came to a point of lacking faith, but in reality, God was always there sustaining their frail physical and spiritual bodies. He held them together. He prevented their death. They could have died from thirst, yet he was their living water, even when they had no physical drink. If God was able to do that for the Israelites, clearly he is doing that for you who are in Christ now. His purpose behind it may be to remind you of your frailty, to remind you of his immense power, or to assure you that he can and WILL rescue you and carry you through every single season.
1 Corinthians 13:7 reminds us of the love God has for us, even in our desert season: [Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. He protects. He endures. He knows you enough to endure for you in the midst of you not trusting Him. John 10:14-15 assures us that He knows us because we are His own. Just think about that for a moment — HE knows YOU.
He knows you can and WILL get through the season. He hopes for you, He perseveres for you – He is unfailing and unwilling to let you go despite of I recently began reading Barnabas Piper’s book, The Pastor’s Kid, Finding Your Own Faith and Identity. Barnabas is John Piper’s son, oftentimes he’s referred to as Piper’s “prodigal son” that went off into the world and then returned to the faith. Barnabas paints a different perspective on the Christian walk, in which he compares his journey to finding his faith and desire for God, much like going on a road trip with his father.
Both men are headed to the same end point, using the same expressway, but choosing a different lane. Some people choose the low and slow right lane, some opt for the left higher speed lane – we’re still going to reach the same final destination, we’re just choosing to go at different paces. Our Christian walk is just like this example. Sometimes we may feel like we’re on the fast lane towards spiritual maturity. Other times we should be mindful of our season and let God take us the low and slow route. The low and slow route might just be the desert route, and that’s a perfectly OK route to take. Everyone grows into their relationship with Christ at their own pace. The desert is a pit stop on that road trip. Some people make it a pit stop, others it’s a rest stop. It’s all dependent on the lesson that the Lord has prepared for you in His sovereignty.
Instead of feeling shameful or beating yourself up for the desert season, I encourage you to respect the desert season for what it is, and what it can teach you about who God is. Allow Him to search and examine your heart. Here are some practical tips that personally helped me weather my desert season. I pray that these bless and encourage you if you ever find yourself in this season.
1. Don’t hide. While you may feel shameful by this season, it’s important you stay within community. You may not have anything to say for a season, but just allow others to pour into you.
2. Talk about it. Recognize that the desert can be a spiritual attack, it can also be disguised as heart issues like pride, laziness, or it may be a life overload: overwhelming demands and stress. All of these things can be identified only if you are open and talk about what is on your heart.
3. Pray. If you don’t feel like praying, it’s OK, but ASK for prayer. Prayer is what will help you endure; it’s what helped Christ withstand the temptation in the desert. Even Christ had a desert moment, and prayer
4. Be still and get alone with God. Sit in silence and submit your feelings to God, be honest and pour out your heart, prayer can be empty words, it can be as simple as, “Lord I don’t know what to pray for and I don’t feel like praying, but here I am. I’ll wait upon you.”
5. Admit your emptiness. Ask God to fill your cup, Matthew 7:7 encourages us to “keep on asking and [we] for.
6. Remain thankful. Recognize that this is a season, not a life sentence and God promises to care for us in the land of drought. Thank Him for His faithfulness.
7. Seek help and accountability. You cannot white knuckle the season without support, encouragement and accountability. There are times we won’t feel like doing something, but that’s why we have an entire church family that will push and motivate us to spend time in the word and with God.
8. Do not lose faith. The desert can be frustrating and exhausting and you may even want to give up, but do not walk away from your faith. Remember that our weakness’ just highlight God’s strength and the desert is such a wonderful opportunity for us to see how our surrender increases our dependency on God. There is sweetness in surrender and an amazing sense of empowerment in conquering this season!
Save this verse as your wallpaper .