Flourishing in the Desert
- Thursday, June 11, 2009
Kris was weary from all that she and Robert had experienced over the past year. After Robert was involved in a car accident that left him in severe pain for several months, they experienced one hassle after another in getting the insurance companies to cooperate. Then Robert was permanently laid off from his job. Finances were tight. There seemed to be no help in sight. And the days ahead looked bleak.
“Where is God right now?” Kris blurted out to me in frustration one day. “We’re calling on Him for help. It just seems like He’s forgotten about us.”
I shared with Kris how I’ve learned through the years that God has a way of drawing us out to the desert of need (or should I say the desert of desperation?) in order to teach us some things about Himself.
In the early years of my marriage, my husband and I didn’t have much money, so I learned to depend on God as my Provider and take Him at His Word when He says He will supply all my needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
When my daughter was a baby, she was hospitalized for three days while undergoing tests to determine if she had cancer or leukemia. During that time of fear and uncertainty, I had to look to God as my Source of Comfort and the Only One who could provide peace “that transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
And just recently – as I waited for God to move during a time in which my husband and I seemed to be standing still financially, emotionally, and in ministry – I had to look to God to be my Future, my Hope and my Direction and trust Him when He says He knows the plans He has for me, plans to prosper me and give me “a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
God knows if I have everything I want, right when I want it, I will no longer need Him. And I’m not truly desperate for Him.
In the Old Testament book of Hosea, God told His prophet what He was going to do to draw the Nation of Israel (His chosen people) back to His heart. His people had gone after other gods, and turned their backs on Him, like a wife who had betrayed and deserted her husband. God used an analogy of a lovesick husband leading his wife back to his heart when He told the prophet Hosea His strategy for making His people desperate for Him:
“Therefore I am now going to allure her, I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of (Trouble) a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the days she came up out of (bondage). “In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’ (Hosea 2:14-16)
I wonder, sometimes, if God doesn’t take that same strategy with us today. Could He be allowing us to go through a desert (in our marriage, our finances, our job, or our personal life) and even at times lead us there so He can “speak tenderly” to us and show us a new side of Himself? Sometimes God allows us to go through certain deserts as consequences of our sin or some bad decisions we made along the way. But other times, I believe He will lead us through a desert because of how He wants us to experience Him there.
What desert might God be allowing you to walk through right now so He can show you a new side of Himself? Could He be taking you through a desert in your marriage, so you will see Him as your “spiritual husband”? Could He be allowing you a trek through the wasteland of financial hardships so you will see Him as your Great Provider? Is He allowing you a journey through parched areas of loss so you will see Him as your Greatest Possession?
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