“The desert and the parched land will be glad: the wilderness will rejoice and blossom” (Isaiah 35:1)
I’ve been in a bit of desert lately; work and school and other responsibilities have sapped my mental, physical and spiritual energy and drained my joy. Yesterday was the first Sunday I’ve been able to attend church in 4 weeks. I expected to be like a sponge and just soak it all up, but I felt more like a rock that sank to the bottom of the sea. What is happening and why Lord? This morning when I came back to Mark chapter 1 (God has kept me here for weeks) I read that after Jesus’ baptism, “the Spirit led Him out into the desert . . .” (v. 12). So I began searching for other “deserts” in the Bible and I found that, despite what I expected, most of the desert experiences in Scripture were not times of punishment or even rebellion. They were encounters with God and seasons of preparation.
The first mention of a desert was when Hagar was running from Sarah. There she met God – El Roi – the God who saw her in the desert. Later she and her son were rescued by a miraculous well of water in the desert, by the God who heard her son’s cries. David wandered in the desert wilderness for several years before he gained the throne of Israel. And even though their 30 years of desert wandering was punishment for Israel’s rebellion, it prepared them for the Promised Land. If we need any more evidence that God works in dry places, don’t forget about the dry bones the Lord brought back to life in Ezekiel. In the desert, Jesus faced His enemy and came through victorious, and when He left that desert His ministry began. I’ve decided that this dry season I’m in is preparation; it’s about staying true to God and watching for Him in the desert. My friend remember that the desert is not your dwelling place – it’s the path God has chosen for you and me on the way to the Promised Land.