One of my favorite Bible stories growing up as a child was the story of the Israelite's fleeing Egypt and journeying in the desert for 40 years Exodus. I was amazed by the powerful ways God worked among the people and and made Himself known to them. It made the greatness of God come alive. I felt such awe and wonder for what our God was capable of.
As I have grown in faith, I realize how similar I am to the chosen people of Israel; especially when they wandered in the desert for 40 years. Because of their sinful ways and hard hearts, they wandered for 40 years before God saw them purified and fit to enter into the Promised Land of Canaan. But they certainly were not the happiest of happy campers during those 40 years! They grumbled to Moses, complained about lack of food and water, and even told Moses at one point they wish they had never left Egypt?! That sounds crazy for a people who were in bondage for hundreds of years. But it's true, and you know what, it is no different for each of us.
Sometimes in the middle of our own greatest sufferings and trials, we grumble and complain against God just like the Israelites. We wish our burdens were not so heavy and we can often feel alone, lost and unsure of God's presence with us. It is easy to see the goodness of God when we are in the Promised Land, but much harder when were are wandering in the deserts of our own lives.
Are you wandering in the desert in your own life? Though it is difficult and painful, take heart! Just as the Israelite's time of wandering came to an end, so to for your own. God leads us into the desert to purify our hearts and to teach us a valuable lesson. Will you allow God to use difficulties to strengthen and change you? Or will you harden your heart like Israel?
Spend ten minutes in silence today. In the quiet of your heart, reflect and think about the greatest suffering and trials you have experienced; your own desert. Talk about them with Jesus; be honest. Can you find goodness in the difficulty? Can you see you see the hand of God at work, even when you are wandering in the desert?
And always, always remember we have to go through the desert to experience the goodness and glory of the Promised Land.
Go through the desert within and get to His promised land.
Patty Hubbard is a new-ish wife finishing grad school, working in youth ministry, and learning to cook more than your average Lean Cuisine. You can find out more about her here.