A friend of mine recently asked me to pray for her. She expressed how she was in a “dry” place. Unlike so many times before, she couldn’t think of a specific thing that I could pray, but she just felt she needed prayer. Her request made me think back on times in my own life when I felt like I was in the desert or a dry place with the Lord.
Webster’s Online Dictionary defines desert as: 1) arid land with usually sparse vegetation; an area of water apparently devoid of life 2) a wild uninhabited and uncultivated tract 3) a desolate or forbidding area
That definition certainly doesn’t make you want to go book an airline ticket and head off to the desert for your next vacation. As Christians, “desert times” can be stressful, scary, make us question our relationship with God and question God Himself.
Today, I want to look at the desert in a different light and give it a new definition. If you search for scriptures throughout the book of Exodus you notice that God called His people to: worship me in the desert (Exodus 7:16), journey into the desert (Exodus 3:18), hold a festival to me in the desert (Exodus 5:1). They looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud (Exodus 16:10).
All of these scriptures point out that God is there in the desert! And if we meet God there with an open mind and a trusting heart we can endure these times. Often, that is easier said than done. At least for me! But, if God is there with us and we believe that He is who is says He is – will can praise Him in that desert place. On the flip side of that, the desert can be all that Webster’s describes if we lose sight of God and start to grumble as the Israelites did on their well know journey through the desert. A trip through the desert with God can provide festival, praise, growth and worship or a trip through the desert without Him can bring thirst, defeat and death.
God speaks to us through prayer, the Bible, the church, others He places in our paths and our circumstances. Let’s not forget the last one. Our circumstances can bring us to that desert place and if we open our heart to the Lord He can fill it with answers and speak to us in ways we wouldn’t hear or understand if we were not in the desert.
I believe during the “dry times” we learn to seek God daily, ask Him questions, get to know Him more intimately, and remember not to take Him for granted. He stretches our faith muscles, convicts our hearts, challenges our trust and just like every good workout leaves us a little sore. But in the long run, we are fit for the next challenge. We are stronger than when we started. We realize even more how much we need Him in our daily lives, how much He has to offer and how much we count on Him.
So, let’s redefine desert.
Desert: 1) vast land with that grows that bread of life; an area filled with the living water 2) a wild and exciting area full of opportunities to gain knowledge and grow closer with our Father in Heaven 3) an intimate and pleasant area
Now that’s better!!!
He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas; Psalm 78:15
Prayer in the Desert