Last week, a reader left a comment on one of my 2017 blogs entitled “Joy in the Desert.” The reader said,
“God gave me the understanding I have been in a ‘desert’ since December 2015. I abandoned myself completely upon Him and thank Him that He loves me so much that through this process, I have become more Christ-Like. Now when it seems hard to endure, I say to myself, ‘there’s gotta be a camel in the midst of this desert someplace Lord.”
This comment could not come at a more relevant time as we are in the midst of the Christian season of Lent, commemorating the forty days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. At the end of forty days, the starving and exhausted Jesus faced the greatest tests of Satan.
Jesus could have easily rebuked Satan. Instead, Jesus relied upon the power and truth of God’s Word. He could have used His own powers of logic and reason to stand again the enemy, but instead, He used the sword of the Spirit saying, “it is written.” Jesus used the very same ‘sword of the Spirit,’ the written word of God that is available to us for use in our everyday lives, and especially for times in the desert. At the end of His forty days in the desert, a ‘camel’ showed up for Jesus in the form of angels who ministered to Him.
Trudging through a ‘desert of faith’ – most of us have been there. We have experienced those times in life when the flow of grace in us seems to diminish to a trickle before it dries up completely – or so we feel. There are times when we feel God is absent and not hearing us. Times when we are starving. Times when we shiver in the dark lost and confused and wonder if He has abandoned us.
Looking back on my own treks through the desert, the times when I felt most alone in my pain were invariably the times when God was closest to me, doing His best work in my heart and mind. God doesn’t meet us for iced tea when we are sitting comfortably at the oasis, He meets us when we are face down in the hot sand. And when we feel we can’t hang on any longer, He pulls us up onto that ‘camel’ and rides with us out of the desert.
If you are in a ‘desert’ right now, take heart, whether you are aware of it or not, Jesus is with you filling your present darkness with grace and light. As our reader did, let us surrender to Him in praise and thanks and faith, because when we do, there is a ‘camel in the midst’ waiting to carry us out of our desert.
Parts of this blog are reprised from the 2017 blog, “Joy in the Desert” at https://donnamarieberger.com/finding-joy-desert/