discussion

Coffee Chat 4 – A Dry and Weary Land

coffee chat

I love a good discussion with a friend over a steaming cup of chai, but since I can’t gather all of you at a comfortable cafe, I’ll have to be content with this little corner of the Internet.

I want to thank each and every person who has come to these coffee chats and commented. I have thoroughly enjoyed your insights and it has been truly inspiring to me! Thank you for your time.

This week, I want to talk about spiritual deserts.

As you probably already know from reading these posts, I literally live in the desert. If you’re wondering, it does NOT rank on my top 10 or even top 100 favorite spots.

I have learned to appreciate the subtle things—I like the warm summer evenings, the spring wildflowers, the gorgeous sunsets over the mountains, the relatively low population and the tight-knit community—but I just don’t love the desert. It’s desolate, dry and hot. Since it’s the high desert, the winters can be quite cold too. We have a cold and dry winter, a week or two of spring (with roof-ripping winds), a LONG HOT summer (sometimes lasting from April to November), a week or two of fall and then winter again.

It’s a dry and weary place.

When I first moved here, I was very unhappy. I was trying desperately hard to be positive, but I had given up a lot with this move and I wasn’t confident that I would ever get back what I had lost. One morning, under the gloom of these thoughts, I opened my daily bible and began reading the scripture for the day. A few verses into the reading, I started to laugh out loud.

The passage for that day was in Deuteronomy 8:

Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.

Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good.

~ Deuteronomy 8.1-5, NIV

God has a good sense of humor.

I read that verse again: “He brought you to the wilderness to humble you.”

Haha!

I know this passage was addressed to the Israelites and the context was for them, but the parallel was truly hilarious. I was in the wilderness, and just one look at my surroundings was enough to remind me that I was being humbled. The things in the Old Testament were written for our learning so that through patience and comfort of the scriptures we might have hope. The lessons to be learned from this passage and the Israelite’s experience were vast.

I had no idea at that particular moment that I had landed, not just in a physical wilderness, but a spiritual one as well. It took me 6 years to come to grips with the fact I could not depend so heavily on others to provide my spiritual nourishment. I spent a lot of time complaining about the way things were—the lack of songs I liked, the heat in the church building, the general apathy about important things. It took me awhile before I realized that I was behaving just like those Israelites in the wilderness.

I learned two important lessons:

Just as the Israelites gathered manna daily, I learned that my spiritual survival depends on going daily to get my fill of God’s Word.

I learned the value of contentment. I have to give thanks in all circumstances, no matter how rotten they are. The Israelites never really learned that lesson, and they paid dearly for their ingratitude.

I am still learning. Lord willing, I hope to keep learning more and getting to know Him better until I draw my last breath on this earth. Once that happens, I will get to see Him face to face. I have not yet mastered the above skills, but the realization has brought motivation. I am motivated now, more than ever before, to holding on to God’s Word with both hands. I know for a fact that without His Word to nourish me, I would starve to death.

For this coffee chat, I would like to hear about your spiritual wilderness.

Whether you are walking through it now or have walked through one, I’d like to know what you have learned or are currently learning because of it.

What did the experience teach you about God?

Did it help you to know Him better?

Did it teach you greater reliance on Him?

Please leave a comment below while you sip on your favorite cup of tea or coffee!

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10 thoughts on “Coffee Chat 4 – A Dry and Weary Land

  1. Okay, I’ll share a bit here. 🙂 Having severe burn-out, having to quit my job, having my kids and grandchildren move far away, nearly losing my husband, losing our house, having siblings reject me for my stand against some evils in our family, losing my health, having our son in law go bankrupt and therefore not being able to pay us back a LOT of money, losing my church fellowship and friends because I became a shut in (illness) and they had a split, having a doctor who had no idea how to help me, having a husband who was working long, long days (all in the course of five years) … FORCED me to depend on God for my meaning, fellowship, spiritual nourishment, joy, health, self-esteem, growth, healing … you name it!

    I am still learning these things. It shows up in little ways when I realize the only reason I may feel hurt about something is because I am afraid that I may lose someone else I love. Such is life in the dessert. I have learned much about God, His wisdom and His faithfulness, and it only makes me want Him more. I was and still am relying on Him for everything, and He is proving Himself so very faithful as He has been restoring my soul, healing my body, giving us another sweet house, blessing our finances, giving us more relationships and more.

    I am thankful for that dessert, otherwise I doubt that the changes that have taken place in my life would have ever come about. God’s ways are not our ways, but I’m okay with that. 🙂 Debbie 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your deserts with us. I appreciate your openness. I like how you brought up God’s faithfulness, because that is one quality of God all-too-often overlooked.

      God be with you, Debbie!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d say that living faithfully as a Christian single now in my thirties has become a spiritual wilderness for me. I know I’m being tested to continue a spiritual walk with the Lord, with or without a spouse. I’ve listened to the evil one before by feeling like the loser, worrying about judgement from others and allowed this perspective to take priority to the point that is caused anxiety.

    There’s a lot of scripture that has me reconsidering and taking a different look at myself. One scripture that stuck out to me recently was Philippians 4: 6-7 which reads:

    “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

    So, just like the Israelites, I definitely doubted what God can do and instead, trusted my own understanding – big no-no. I appreciate you mentioning this particular scripture in Deuteronomy because I often forget that when I’m tested, the result is to make me humble. Definitely encouraging.

    Thank you for posting this. I appreciate and read all your articles.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jay, I am very blessed to have you as a friend!

      Thank you for your willingness to share here. 😊

      I like what you mentioned about listening to the evil one. The evil one loves to tell us lies. He is, after all, the father of them. One song that really inspired me was “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns, because it really draws out the problem of letting Satan’s lies overcome the truths of God. I have often listened to the lies, and it has prevented me from giving my best to God and others. The best line in the song is, “out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen AND believe the voice of truth.”

      May God continue to strengthen and encourage you as you walk with Him.

      We are definitely thankful for your friendship and godly example.

      Like

  3. I love how you found humor in the wilderness! It’s definitely wild and can be scary if our roots aren’t secure! Humor has always been a large part of my nature…I write this as I consider taking a sip of my cold coffee…:)

    Debbie mentioned the desert- I live in the desert and have despised it for so many years. Literally. It wasn’t until this past year (or so) that the desert and/or wilderness almost consumed me. I don’t write to the dramatic depths on my blog, however, I have felt the fire singe my toes (fuguratively) and like Debbie and so many other blessed souls, that is when I truly felt God’s grace and power. It is a view with no words to describe.
    The wilderness is much more beautiful with God lighting my path. The further we go the brighter the lead and the footprints behind begin to evaporate like a mist in the sun.
    Thank you for a beautiful post and reminder!
    Greta

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Greta, thanks for stopping by and enjoying a coffee with us!

      I like how you mentioned God leading us through the desert. When we are surrounded by nothing but rocks, creosote and dirt, it’s much easier to see that cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. When we are surrounded by lots of distractions, we might miss the blessing of God’s guiding presence.

      Thanks again for brightening our day with your cheerful thoughts! May God walk with you through your desert.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, this just rings so true with several deserts in my life! I’m about out of the time I am allowing myself on the ‘net, so I’ll keep this short! Let’s just say we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary this year….so the number 40 became so symbolic! And as I was reading these very same scriptures, I immediately realized I am no different than those Israelites! Fortunately, in between deserts, we have seen the promised land, so we know where we are headed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 40 years! Congratulations! Yes, I’m currently hammering out a post on the Israelites again. I hope it doesn’t get too repetitive to my readers. The thing is, I, like you, see so many of my own foibles played out in the actions of those stubborn people. So many lessons I need to learn!

      Liked by 1 person

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