The Desert Season: Finding What Makes Your Heart Sing Again

 

Deuteronomy 32:10-13

In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft. The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him. He made him ride on the heights of the land and fed him with the fruit of the fields. He nourished him with honey from the rock, and with oil from the flinty crag, with curds and milk from herd and flock and with fattened lambs and goats, with choice rams of Bashan and the finest kernels of wheat. You drank the foaming blood of the grape.

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In the desert land God found me.  I am living and have lived so much of my life in a barren howling wilderness.  God led me here, and I finally humbled myself and found Who he was and what He does for me.  In the desert He alone shields and cares for me, I ride, even now on his wings when I can not walk; He feeds me with his fruit; and He nourishes me with honey from the rock, oil, wheat, and new wine.  So much of my life has been spent trying to keep one foot in this world and one in Gods’.  I realize that’s called idolatry and disobedience. The consequences are sometimes a self inflicted time of separation or feeling of distance from God.  I spent so much time trying to highlight the parts of being a Christ Follower I deemed worthy to highlight, and keep quiet the parts that made me feel uncomfortable.  I realize I was ungrateful and naive. We all make a choices in life, and when it comes to the Bible we believe it all or nothing, we can’t have our feet in two different places.  I no longer am ashamed of any part of the Bible.  I am only ashamed of myself, the running, and years of poor choices. The Gospel in its entirety is the Power Of God as Romans 1:16 says: 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

You have to chose to believe the entire thing. To highlight parts and diminish others to the shadows is reckless.  In the desert seasons of my life this flaw or blind spot was brought to light, and the things that were the least desirable about myself were made known to me.  It was in that place of complete brokenness that I realized that the Gospel is in fact the power of God.  Each day He nourished my soul, in the dry and weary land I found myself in.  The Holy Spirit Of God spoke to me, and he met me.  My God became my shelter, shade, living water, manna, fire by night, and cloud by day.  In this current desert season I woke up one day and found myself singing his praises in this dry and weary land that had become my home. I found when I called he answered. Psalm 138:3 describes what I found was not only did he answer but he emboldened me in my desert to face the elements that the day or season would bring: 

When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.

I was emboldened and content.  To the world the desert seems like the worst place to be, but I found it was where God placed me for a reason.  Not only that, but that I found myself wanting stay in the desert, because it was there that I felt the closest to God.

I have been through a few deserts in my short life, and am currently in one, and I praise God.  The number one rule of lessons learned through my deserts is this: the sooner I acknowledged that God made the desert I was in, and praised him for it, the desert became something beautiful.  God allows us to experience both the desert and green pastures, he created them both, and Jobs’ response to his wife in Job 2:9-10:

His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

Indeed the deserts I have found myself in were made by Gods’ design and plan for my life.  When I was a PEACE with where God had me, my world began to change.  When I stopped seeing my desert AS NEGATIVE; all the uniformity of color, parched feeling, exhausted disposition, and raw and exposed posture… my life inwardly started to BLOSSOM.  The sorrow and tears turned to joy and praise.  As Gods’ voice became louder, my purpose became crystal clear, the circumstances surrounding my desert situation faded, and my utter dependence on my Savior each second was something I looked forward to each day.  I find myself today in a deep and long desert, no relief insight, but maybe for the first time in my life I am relying on my great God, and not myself, for everything.  I have begun to discover how the DESERT is BETTER, and for the first time in a long time I am at PEACE with every aspect of my life.

Lessons of the Desert Seasons:

Wait for the Lord

In the desert I learned to wait for the Lord.  Psalms 130:5-6 talks about waiting, a longing for the Lord: 

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Waiting is active like a watchman in the night who looks forward to daylight.  In my waiting I started to come before him with a posture of worship in my waiting and began praising him for his timing and the EMINENT dawn of his promise land.  When I began with praise and thanksgiving first for where God had me, my outlook, not my reality began to change.  I became so grateful for all my blessings, the little and large alike.  In the actual desert in June, I found myself praising God for the shade, the stream, food, water, protection…My mind didn’t long for the things of the West, I was living in the present.  Waiting for the Lord is both posturing ones self with an attitude of praise and actively expressing praise, while being content by embracing where the Lord has you.  I was present for the first time in a long time.  I was not thinking about the future, but focused on the now.  How radical my life would be if I could focus on the minute all the time. Living day to day to with so many of my needs met, it deludes my need for God.  In the desert I found myself listening, watching for him daily, and waiting patiently as Proverbs 8:34-35 says:

Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.

My desert seasons paralleled my actual reality in the desert this summer, I realized my great need for God.  I felt so vulnerable and was thankful for his great mercy in everything.  I found life more abundantly when I stopped looking at myself, started praising him in every situation and  provision, and started looking up.

Living by faith because of his faithfulness

The waiting taught me to LIVE by his FAITHFULNESS alone.  After a Few days in the desert you start to become weak.  The challenges of the elements (the sun, scorching heat, lack of shade, food, water) in the desert parallels the emotional and physical challenges of life in the real desert seasons.  I have survived my deserts in life not by praying for him to give me strength, but by praying for the Lords strength and allowing HIS POWER to take over in the situation.  In and of myself I am weak like 2 Corinthians 12:9 says:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

When I allow his power, his promises, and his faithfulness to be my strength, I am strong in the Lord.  Living in His strength is called faith.  I live by faith in the desert. The book of Habakkuk talks about the destroyer being destroyed and learning to be content that all will be redeemed at the appointed time.  It is not my job to figure out the solution to the desert, it my job to WORSHIP in the desert.  When I believe that the Lord will provide and his plan is best, I live by faith.  The righteous man lives by his faithfulness Habakkuk 2:3 says:

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.  See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous person will live by his FAITHFULNESS —

I know that God is good and so is his plan, so I wait patiently knowing he works everything out for my good.

Living by His Faithfulness

The righteous person will live by HIS faithfulness in the desert.  You see the enemy try’s to destroy you, he is out like a lion looking for his next kill.  He wants us to Shrink back, but I will not shrink back, I have faith and know my God will deliver me out of this desert and usher in the promise land.  Hebrews 10:37-39 talks about those who have faith:

For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have FAITH and are SAVED.

I CHALLENGE YOU TODAY TO NOT SHRINK BACK, HAVE FAITH.  WHEN YOU STAND TALL THE FATHER IS PLEASED.  You must have believe that God is faithful and He will bring you out of the desert, either on earth, or in eternity.  

Things I remind myself each day in the desert

He is leading me through the desert and he will provide.

Deuteronomy 29:5-6

Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”

🙏Father, I praise you for leading me through the wilderness and providing everything for me.

His plan always saves lives, and he receives the most glory.

Genesis 45:5

And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

🙏Father, I praise you that your plan always saves lives.

What is intended to harm me, God intends for good, because his ways are perfect. He will provide for me.

Genesis 50:20-21

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children. ” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

🙏Father, I praise you for speaking to me kindly, providing for my children, husband, and I.  What the enemy intends to harm me, you intend for good, thank you for your goodness and mercy over my family’s life.

He will be my refuge

Psalms 9:9

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Psalms 32:7

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

🙏I praise you Lord you are a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

You are my refuge and my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I am strong in the Lords’ power, He alone is my strength. 

Isaiah 33:2

Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.

Hebrews 11:34

quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.

Ephesians 6:10

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  

2 Corinthians 13:4

For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.

🙏 I praise you that you are my strength every morning, my salvation in time of distress.  I thank you that you turn my weakness into strength.  I am strong in the Lord alone by his mighty power. 

When his law is in my heart and mind, I will not slip.

Psalms 37:31

The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip.

🙏Father, I praise you for your law on my heart. Thank you my feet are secure.

I fix my eyes on the unseen that is eternal.  On this earth in this body I am away from my true home with the Lord.  My momentary troubles are a blink of an eye.

2 Corinthians 5:5-6

Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

🙏Father, I fix my eyes on you, thank you for the Holy Spirit, I look forward to my true home, I fix my eyes on the unseen, the restoration of all things when I spend eternity with you.

Jesus is my hope, and anchor for my soul in the desert.

Hebrews 6:16-20

People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

🙏Father, I praise you for your greatness and unchanging nature and purpose. I praise you that you do not lie.  Thank you for the hope of Jesus, this promise of a final high priest is an anchor for my soul.

I trust him at all times and his promise is rest.

Psalms 62:5

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.

He always lives to intercede for me.

Hebrews 7:24-25

but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

🙏Father, thank you for sacrificing your son for humanity.  Thank you that Jesus you live to intercede for me.

I had this epiphany as I was writing my thoughts about the desert…The verse that is repeated throughout the text is the meaning of desert – it embodies every aspect of why God allows desert, why he chose the desert land for his people, why despite all the negatives the desert brings, it is always my favorite part of every trip and I look back on my desert seasons with joy.  As Deuteronomy 4:35 says best:

You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.

I realize I was actually allowed and led through my deserts, and God chose the desert, because it is there we truly realize that He is God and there is no other.  If I think about what life used to look like before the desert, when I lived in Egypt, even though I thought I was walking with God, I was trusting in myself in so many ways that I couldn’t even see…  I see his promises coming to fruition like Hebrews 11:13-16 says:

Hebrews 11:13-16

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

So today, in the desert, yes I am thirsty and hungry, and yes I long for rest…but each day He provides me with more than enough.  Today, I long for a better country a heavenly one.

⭐️P.S.

God chose Israel out of all the places on earth to place his people, to have his son born.  Israel is more than 60 % desert.  God chose the desert for a reason.

The Negev, in southern Israel, makes up more than 60 percent of the country’s landscape.

Southern Israel is dominated by the Negev desert, covers more than half of the country’s total land area. The north of the Negev contains the Judean Desert, which, at its border with Jordan, contains the Dead Sea. Israel’s area is approximately 8,019 sq mi, which includes 172 sq mi of inland water.  Israel stretches 290 miles from north to south, and its width ranges from 83 miles to, at its narrowest point 9.3 miles. Hebrew word סֶ֫נֶּה Senneh, the Sinai wilderness is also a small part of Israel. For more on Israel checkout this link: http://www.mfa.gov.il

Other scripture, thoughts, and notes

All the food and water you need will be provided if you trust and obey

He ordered the ravens to feed Elijah

1 Kings 17:2-4

God then told Elijah, “Get out of here, and fast. Head east and hide out at the Kerith Ravine on the other side of the Jordan River. You can drink fresh water from the brook; I’ve ordered the ravens to feed you.”

He speaks to others and has them feed you

Go to Sidon:

1 Kings 17:9

“Get up and go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I’ve instructed a woman who lives there, a widow, to feed you.”

He knows exactly what you need to survive, he will not let your food run out.

1 Kings 17:12-14

She said, “I swear, as surely as your God lives, I don’t have so much as a biscuit. I have a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a bottle; you found me scratching together just enough firewood to make a last meal for my son and me. After we eat it, we’ll die.”

Elijah said to her, “Don’t worry about a thing. Go ahead and do what you’ve said. But first make a small biscuit for me and bring it back here. Then go ahead and make a meal from what’s left for you and your son. This is the word of the God of Israel: ‘The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty before God sends rain on the land and ends this drought.'”

1 Kings 17:16

The jar of meal didn’t run out and the bottle of oil didn’t become empty: God’s promise fulfilled to the letter, exactly as Elijah had delivered it!

HE WILL BE YOUR REFUGE

Psalms 9:9

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Psalms 32:7

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalms 90:12

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalms 90:17

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

His Strength

My words shed light on my inmost being

Proverbs 20:27

The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being.

Human Spirit: words

Lamp of the Lord: Psalms 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Isaiah 33:2

Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.

Hebrews 11:34

quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.

I am strong in his power not my own:

Ephesians 6:10

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

I live by Gods’ power: 2 Corinthians 13:4

For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Colossians 1:11

being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Rest

Psalms 62:5

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.

Rest: Psalms 5:3

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

Wait expectantly: f Ps 62:1; 119:81; 130:5; Hab 2:1; Ro 8:19

Hope in your word: Psalms 119:81

My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.

Psalms 130:5

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.

Habakkuk 2:1

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.

Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.

Psalms 48:14

For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Proverbs 6:22

When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.

Psalms 62:8

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Faithfulness of God Scripture

Habakkuk 2:11 The stones of the wall will cry out, and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.

The disciples cry out as Jesus walks to the Lambs Gate:

Luke 19:38-42

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.

Kent Dobson on Habakkuk 2:11 condemning the temple itself or perhaps all of Jerusalem because it was built by unjust oppression. In other words, the stones were crying out for justice…

The Pharisees told Jesus to keep his disciples quiet. Jesus responded, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Lk 19:40; see note there). Was Jesus quoting Habakkuk? Was he saying, much like the Dead Sea Scrolls, that the time of justice was at hand? Were the disciples, in their celebration of Jesus, also crying out and longing for justice, much like the stones? Perhaps Jesus was alluding to the justice of the coming Messiah;

Habakkuk 2:3

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.  See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness —

Appointed time: Daniel 11:27

The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time.

Waiting for the Lord

Psalms 27:14

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

It: Ezekiel 12:28

“Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

Righteous person: Ezekiel 18:9

He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign Lord.

Righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel

Faithfulness: Romans 1:17

For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed —a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Romans 3:22

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,

Philippians 3:9

and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

Galatians 3:11-14

Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:7-9

For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

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