Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. — Deuteronomy 8:2
The desert can be a dangerous place. In Bible times it was always a place of uncertainty, peril, trial, and death. Not the kind of place you want to go on vacation!
Several years ago my husband and I found ourselves in a desert place. My husband, a pastor, had just resigned from our church so we could plant a church with another pastor and his wife. Little did we know that the friend and pastor we were going to plant the church with would be diagnosed with cancer. My husband and I, along with our one-year-old child, had just moved to a different town to plant the church, and we were living with my in-laws while our home was for sale. When the church plant was suddenly called off, my husband took the first job available. It was a job we both knew wouldn’t cover the bills long term. We were sinking, or so it felt.
During this trying time, I had my first miscarriage. We were experiencing disappointment and grief on all sides. Our situation seemed hopeless. I pleaded with God for direction and financial relief, and God provided. After six months of struggling that felt like forty years, we moved back to our old town, and my husband started a new full-time job in ministry.
During desert experiences we can too easily focus on our circumstances instead of God’s character. We grow weary instead of waiting patiently. Yet God’s Word reminds us,
Do not let your heart be troubled. — John 14:1
Believing that God is good and that He can take care of us through our desert experiences gives us hope and joy in the midst of our uncertainty.
When my feelings threaten to overshadow my trust in Him, I must turn my heart immediately to His promises. I remind myself that the Lord isn’t slow to fulfill His promises (2 Peter 3:9). His ways are perfect (Psalm 18:30). God works all things for good (Romans 8:28). Just like He led the Israelites in the desert, He leads us.
Father, I know that You are good. I know that You are present with me, even in the hard places. So now, when I can’t understand why I’m going through a desert place, help me cling to the promises You’ve given me in Scripture. Help me to remember that Your character doesn’t change like my circumstances do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- How is God testing you in your desert experience?
- What part of your character do you think God is trying to refine in this season?
- What promise from Scripture do you need to cling to during this time?
Excerpted with permission from Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet With Jesus by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk, copyright Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk.
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All believers go through seasons of being in the desert. One preacher said that God either leads us into the desert or He creates the desert within us… and that it’s to draw us to Himself and make us more like Jesus. Come share your thoughts on our blog. We want to hear from you about being refined in the desert. ~ Devotionals Daily