By the time I thought of her, my pillow was soaked. The darkness disguised my tears but I worried my unbridled sobs would wake the household.
In just a few weeks, my entire life had turned upside down. There wasn't an aspect of my mind, heart, or day that was not burdened by the new crosses that were gifted to us. But perhaps the most heart-wrenching cross was that, in the turmoil and uprootedness, I couldn't see the Lord. I was blinded and deafened by the tornado of circumstances that arrived in an instant, requiring my focus on the survival of those placed under my care. I railed against Him in grief, wondering why He had withdrawn the grace of His consolation at such a disastrous time. As the storms raged, I grabbed onto whatever I could and boarded up the windows of my heart.
In those days, I longed for the past: times when things were easier, more normal, and less tumultuous. I longed for the comfort of the world, for a false sense of security, for "taking matters into my own hands." I longed to go back.
Those unrealistic and unhealthy desires bore the kind of fruit you can imagine.
Despite the lack of consolation, I knew the Lord was present and attentive to me. I also knew that standing before Him raw was better than not standing before Him at all. So as I lay in bed, shrouded in the darkness of room and heart, I cried out to Him.
Then, in prayer, I thought of her. I first thought of the Israelites in the desert, wandering toward the Promised Land after being set free from slavery. I thought of how they railed against Moses because they were thirsty, hungry, tired and unsure.
"Surely, Lord," I wept that night, "surely there was an Israelite woman who longed to go back. Surely there was one woman who had a decent life in Egypt, who enjoyed the produce of the land and the predictability of the days. Yet, she stayed. She chose to remain with You in the desert, in the discomfort, and in the unknown all for love of You and trust in Your promise. Surely she wept in her tent at night, longing for Egypt but longing for You more. She's the one I need to befriend and pray for me."
I don't know who that Israelite woman is, but I hope I get to thank her in Heaven someday. My external circumstances didn't change. My longing for the past didn't disappear. But with the example and prayer of my friend in the desert, I trusted that He was leading me somewhere beautiful. Choosing to remain with Him in the desert gave me strength, confidence, and peace to endure the elements of my environment.
// Are you looking back to a time when things were "easier," more predictable, or more controllable? How is the Lord inviting you into a deeper trust and surrender in this new place?
// How has the Lord brought you through the desert in the past? Remember those moments and hold fast to them as anchors. His promise is sure, and He does not lead into the desert without the plan of the Promised Land.
P.S. Grab this free wallpaper for your phone or computer to remind you of your focus during this summer series (and beyond)!