Passing Through the Desert

by - February 25, 2013

We equate the forty year wilderness wanderings with punishment of Israel's lack of faith, and we wouldn't be wrong. But we aren't entirely right either.

I've been struggling with discouragement. There. I said it.

It's the wilderness, and, though it may be my discipline, it is so much more.

As much as I'd like to forget this dry and barren time and move quickly into the land of milk and honey, God is asking me to remember this place and time, because its in the desert that God humbled, tested, and determined whether or not Israel—I mean, I—would keep His commands.

Since God already knows all things, this knowing must be for me.

The only other possibility is that the facts changed over those forty wilderness years. Where there was no faith, God systematically constructed some.

A faithless people can find faith in the desert, so what started as a gaze at the circumstances and believing what they saw rather than what they heard from their Almighty became, slowly over time in the desert, a shift in focus from circumstances to Adonai.

This shift happens when God places us in need. He let Israel go hungry so that he could become their provider. He did it because Israel needed to be fed, but also because Israel needed to know God provides. Is there a better way to learn this Truth than to be in need and God provide?

I think not.

So God fed Israel manna day by day, morning by morning. Each morning a new hunger, each hunger met by new provision. When it happens over and over again, strength for today becomes bright hope for tomorrow.

What appears to be aimless wandering is, rather, a straight pathway to knowing God's heart of love.

A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God (Isaiah 40:3).

God's faithful provision, time after time, creates in us hope; faith, where there was only doubt, fear, and discouragement before.

God, the great provider, creates circumstances that elicit from me a listening ear to Truth, an eye to the Provider, blind to my circumstance.

This is manna. This is God's provision in the desert, in the discouragement.

He wants to be the God who gives good gifts. What better gift is there than the one we are in desperate need of?

Of course, this necessitates our desperate need.

I want to be in desperate need of God. Not just for a time, but always. Even if that means having to pass through the desert for forty year or just over and over again.

I have nothing to fear, and everything to gain. Discouragement becomes hope because God is faithful.

And the land of milk and honey that I long for? Well, milk and honey feed the hunger within because they are the Words of Life. God is teaching me that man doesn't live by bread alone. Not when you're passing through the desert and not when you've reached the promised land.

Sharing one part Sunday sermon, one part Holy Spirit travel through scripture, and one part testimony with Michelle's Hear It Use It community.

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  1. "What appears to be aimless wandering is, rather, a straight pathway to knowing God's heart of love."
    Thanks, I needed this -- and the whole rest of the post.
    And now, I'm gonna go ahead and publish my post about discouragement that I've been holding back all morning. You were brave, so I'll be brave, too. Maybe someone else will benefit.

    1. Sylvia, I've hidden my discouragement for awhile, too. You make me glad I posted. God will use your post to minister to another as well. He redeems it all. He can't help himself. That's just the gracious kind of God he is.

  2. Dawn--we are 'neighbors' at Michelle's place today. I appreciated your post very much--especially these lines: "Each morning a new hunger, each hunger met by new provision. When it happens over and over again, strength for today becomes bright hope for tomorrow."
    God has been speaking to me about biting off way too many days' worth of worry at once and saying, "Jody, what do I have for you TODAY? Do that"

    May God continue to be close to you as you share your journey with us.

  3. Dawn, I hate you've been struggling with discouragement; it can be so overwhelming. I only wish I didn't know. Tucking you into prayer and hoping the music and dancing helped. -grin-


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