“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field will honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness & rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen.” – Isaiah 43:19 & 20
Life is like a super big landscape that we’re all hiking through. There are mountains, deserts, and lush oases. You can’t get used to any part of it because it’s a journey- you can’t stop in one place. The thing is, though, we’re not all hiking the same part of the journey at the same time- some of us are on the mountains, some in the lush oases, & some in the deserts…and I just want to take a moment to encourage those struggling through the desert- don’t give up.
For me, 2016 was a year of slowly making my way out of the physical, spiritual, mental, emotional desert I had been trudging through for years & finally making it into an oasis from the Lord. My desert was filled with loneliness, lots of stress, doubting & not desiring to grow in my faith, & many other struggles. Grant it- my struggles aren’t really much of anything compared to the hardships others experience in their deserts, but for me, they were difficult. In my desert, I was very alone. I had few friends, few Christian friends, and especially few Christian female friends. I desperately prayed God would fill that void. In my desert, I struggled with my job & confidence in myself in the Lord. I desperately prayed God would fix those problems. In my desert, some of our financial situations felt so oppressive. I desperately prayed God would provide. I prayed. I prayed. I prayed some more, and I prayed again. I struggled with these issues for years, but I kept praying. I strayed from the Lord oftener than I would like to admit…but when I would make my way back I always found Him waiting. Through the years of desert, I continued to pray that He would lead me to an oasis. I was getting to a point where I just wanted it all to stop, I wanted to drop to my knees in exhaustion in my desert. I wanted to give up…but God kept reminding me to keep going…keep trudging…keep focusing on Him…& that all along He heard my prayers.
Through my desert I learned a lot about myself. I learned I am stubborn & independent. I kept trying to rely on myself instead of relying on God. I learned that I was a very negative person. I learned I can’t fix my problems on my own- but I have to hand them to Christ & allow Him to do the fixing in me. When I finally reached that point, when I stopped fighting & being angry at God for putting me in my desert…when I started looking at my surroundings & started asking what He wanted to show me instead of being angry…He was finally able to begin leading me toward an oasis. My oasis, so far, has consisted of an increasing faith & desire to grow closer to Him & to share that with others. All of a sudden, I find my lonely life overflowing with so many sweet, encouraging, precious, wonderful, & wise Christian women that I am so thankful to call my friends. Many of the issues & financial burdens from over the years have been slowly lifted. I look around and see some of my deepest desires & prayers beyond bountifully answered & I am SO grateful.
I say all of this to encourage you. If you feel trapped in a desert of life, don’t give up. Don’t stop moving, don’t stop seeking after where God is leading you. Find ways to be thankful for where God is leading you & what He is teaching you. Don’t stop praying. Be honest with God about where you are, what you feel, & where you want to go. God hears your prayers. But don’t expect to be able to do your own thing…you have to be willing to follow the only Guide that can lead you on the right path through that desert to the oasis. But be encouraged, because if you allow God to lead you, you will not remain in the desert forever. God will lead you through it & to something so refreshingly satisfying, if you let Him, into His own version of a land “flowing with milk & honey” just for you & that oasis will have a reason, too.
Through your desert you will grow & change. I hope & pray that it will be to bring you closer to the Lord…and it will be so worth it…
So…keep trudging, friends, & be blessed.