Desert came from a Latin word “desertum” which means an abandoned place. It is a barren land where precipitation is less and living conditions for both plants and animals are hostile. It is a place where there is no comfort, no luxury, and with just small amount of resources for survival. (Wow! Sounds fun!) 😦
Just reading the description of what desert looks like, I think this would be the least on anyone’s bucket list. Tourists may just visit, take a selfie, ride a camel and then leave. Would you even dare trade your home for an isolated one? Maybe some of you (it depends on your preference) but for me I would never dare build a tent and live there for the rest of my life. Even if I had live half of my life near deserts, I would rather choose a place where resources are always available and life is seemingly abundant. Though this place is never enticing, there is something in the desert in which I started to love. And that is the power to build you.
Mountains are for thrill-seekers, hills are for adventurous spirit and valleys are for soul-searchers but deserts are for nomadic souls. It is a place where people develop a nomadic spirit and are trained to survive even with limited resources. They develop skills like manufacturing weapons, tracking animals, finding water and using whatever they could get on their hands to supply their everyday needs. Climbing mountain is a challenge but staying in the desert is more difficult. There will be no plants and trees you can hide underneath to protect yourself from blazing heat. There will be no large amounts of water to satisfy your thirst all throughout the day. And the only reward you can get at the end of the journey is not a magnificent mountain top view but the strengthening of your character.
Go for mountains! It pushes yourself to go beyond your limitation. Go for valley! It serves as your resting place. But when you find yourself going through a desert season, don’t retreat, take heart! God is with you. He will teach you things only found in deserts that will surely help you in your future expeditions. It may be a place where hopelessness becomes a reality but it is also a place where the foundation of your faith is build.
Here are some of the resources I have carried along with me in the desert.
Peace and Joy in the midst of trouble.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)
Having perfect peace is not reliant on our circumstances. And rejoicing doesn’t come from our wants and needs being fulfilled. Even if your plans didn’t work out, got fired from your job, got rejected by a woman, incur a loss in your investment and even if more “even ifs” come to your life, declare the “I will still” statement. I will still rejoice and I will still keep myself in perfect peace because I trust my God. Our journey in the desert may wear us out and the dryness may prolong but God is the living water that satisfies our thirsty soul. He alone is the source of our peace and joy. So even if things get a little bit draggy in the desert, let us choose to put the garment of praise. Praise Him! Sing for Him for your deliverance will come.
Bread in the midst of hunger.
“He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you” (Deut. 8:16).
God often lead us in a desert season to test us and make us grow. Just like in the time of Moses when He led them out of Egypt, He tested the hearts of Israelites. They went on complaining about the food they eat for they were dissatisfied with just “manna” and they wanted meat. In their dismay, they thought of being better off in Egypt as slaves yet well fed than in the wilderness as free people yet hungry. Sometimes God will have to take away every temporary pleasure in our life for us to learn true contentment. It is in the desert that God strips off the callous and dirt surrounding our hearts to make it new; a heart that desires nothing but God alone. When Jesus was tempted in the desert, He refuted the enemy by saying “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes out from the mouth of God.” And I hope we would do the same way on feeding ourselves with God’s word because He is the only bread that satisfies our life for eternity.
“You don’t really know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” – Tim Keller.
Faith in the midst of impossibilities.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)
You may be thinking, how can God spring up water on a dry land? It sounds impossible right? However, I have learned that it is also in the desert where God is fond of showing His glory and miracles. When there seems to be a no way out of your situation, that’s when God invites you to step back and so that He can take the lead. When all you could see is your weakness on this parched land He reminds you of His power. Soon enough, what was once you thought an arid place can be a land filled with sustaining water. You have to understand that God is always in the business of doing miracles in your life. Just as He reminded the Israelites, do not forget the great things He has done for your ancestors because He will do the same thing for you. How will you see the rivers? Get a hold of your faith and you will see the overflowing water takes place.
Nomadic souls learn to adapt wherever God places them. They are trained to be expedient with little supply. Whether in their abundance or lack, their secret of contentment comes from dwelling on the one and only source of life which is God. He provides enough peace, strength, hope, and faith in every journey; the only resources I have learned to rely on. As soon as you get out of this place, believe that you will come out stronger and better just like Moses who led the people out of Egypt, Joseph who became a leader, David who defeated Goliath and Jesus who saved humanity. And once you conquer the desert, you will not just be ready for mountains and hills you will even be ready to conquer your promised land!
Are you ready? I’m ready! 😀