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Deserts are defined by The Free Dictionary as “an empty or foresaken place”. They are often considered extremely dry areas that lack water. Imagine being lost in the center of the Sahara Desert without a compass to lead you home. You are alone and it is the ninth day of your journey. Your water supply ran out two days ago. You start hearing voices and your body in mounting with pain. I’m sure you are considering a way to survive. In fact, you may have even pictured a mirage, an optimal phenomenon that causes you to create an illusion of water or something insubstantial (The Free Dictionary by Farlax). Even in that short visualization exercise, you may imagined water because you are designed to live!
In the aforementioned exercise, you were probably quickly thinking of how to get out of that desert. Similiarly, when we find ourselves in spiriutal deserts, we want to escape. So much so that we may imagine things that don’t actually exist. Although God has designed us to live, true life does not come with imaginary methods for quenching our thirst. When placed in uncomfortable predicaments, we may find ourselves asking God, “what lesson could we possibly learn in a lonely place that offers no food, drink or comfort?” But I guarantee if God has you there, then He has a way for you to drink and a way for you to escape. More imortantly, He has a way for you to endure the desert while you are on your journey.
Often we find ourselves becoming preoccupied with our situation or the location of our trial. We forget to become preoccupied with our Lord, who is capable of helping us endure the driest seasons of life. Think about this, the cactus can survive dry regions. Cacti are designed to catch water in desert rains. They store much of the water they receive, helping them live for long periods of time. You can’t become so focused on the arid condidtions of your spiritual life that you miss the small sporadic rains sent your way. Furthermore, even if a cactus is only three feet in height, its roots can spread more than 1o’ wide. You must realize that if you have not achieved the spiritual height you want, you can live through difficult climates when you are strongly rooted in Christ.
You may be the one who has been in the desert before and wondering why would God bring you to this foresaken place again. It could be to teach you how to rejoice in a solitary place. It may be to instruct you how to fight the beasts that live in the dry land and come out as a victor. Its possible purpose may be for you to learn how to overcome thoughts of insubstantial things or mirages. Or it may simply be to keep you from the lusts of a place filled with running water. Moreover, the Lord may want you to learn to survive as a cactus; how to reserve necessary spiritual rain water or how to make your roots spread in Him. Maybe it is to have you hunger and thirst for righteousness so you may be filled and declared blessed (Matt 5:6). Whatever the reason, know God has a purpose for leading you to a dry and thirsty land. When you complete your journey, your feet will leave the desert and your spirit will have overcome it!
[[A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.]] O God, thou [art] my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so [as] I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Ps. 63:1-2