The spiritual desert is not a nice place to be in. You can get agitated, lonely, and even anxious, but to be properly prepared and equipped for battle, this is the place that we eventually come to.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Spiritual Desert, but I’ve been to that place at some point in my Christian walk. I felt doubtful; as if I was alone navigating through this vast desert as a stranger in a foreign land.
And I continue to aimlessly wander around the Desert, deep in my emotions wondering where was God in all of this. Knock, knock, God, where are You? Are You still there?
See, my experience was not even bad, but at the beginning, I aimlessly walked around in circles acting as if “Woe is me!” when in fact, God was there with me all along.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God doesn’t forsake us, but we’ve forsaken Him. Time after time again. It’s like we trust Him with the minuscule matters, but not the big ones. The Desert is a place of testing and training. It’ll determine how weak or strong we are. We’ve seen Joseph go through his Spiritual Desert period in the form of training/tests while in prison for God was preparing him for a BIGGER task, and he couldn’t get there overnight. Moses spent his first 40 years in Pharaoh’s palace learning how to be a student and solider. The next 40 years of his life were spent in the desert taking care of his father-in-law’s flock of sheep. It was in this Desert, that the demoted Moses (from prince to shepherd) learned the qualities that he’ll need as Israel’s future leader and emancipator. He entered into the Desert as a dry cactus and left as a blooming one after his apprenticeship with God.
Everything cannot be perfect for then you won’t grow.
As I said at the beginning of this reflection, I used to go around the Desert feeling sorry for myself. Now, I don’t look at trials and tribulations in the same way anymore. Whenever I encounter them, I look towards God asking Him what He’s teaching me here. What lesson does He want me to learn? I’ve learned to trust Him even more during these times thus growing through these lessons. There is no need to fear these hardships when we go through them with faith in God for this period produces a quality we all need: patience (James 1:2-3).
To be in the desert is part of the Christian experience. Come on now, you can’t want the sweet-smelling savor without experiencing the bitterness! When we’re in the desert, we’re actually going through trials. And even if you don’t feel God, don’t think that He’s left us to face these battles on our own. He’s actually refining and sharpening us. He’s molding and humbling us to be more like Jesus. He’s strengthening us to weather these storms so that we may emerge not only victorious but stronger.
And then the tests that God wants us to pass are passed with flying spiritual colors and there’s rain in your Desert! A beautiful outpouring of rain that washes away the stench of the battle that you just been through. And you feel elated and happy, but most of all, you feel stronger because of God, for it is in the Desert that God teaches people Who He really is. It is there that we learn to trust a Known God to an unknown future.
Now, how does that feel?
Note: It’s weird that of all the things I could be inspired to write a post from, it steams from an MJ GIF for “Stranger In Moscow” (the 3rd one) again recalling Romans 8:28. This topic was heavy on my heart, but I kept putting it off until one night when it was past midnight and the house was quiet and God said that it was time to get the weight off my heart.
I was disappointed and almost gave up on writing this post as the page crashed twice and most of the words I wrote weren’t saved and I had to start all over again. But with the Holy Spirit, I persevered. When MJ wrote “Will You Be There”, I believe that he was in his own Spiritual Desert at the time and that’s the song I identify with most, but “Stranger In Moscow” was an eye-opening song for me where it concerns the emotional human heart.