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.”
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!