Personal Challenge #13 The Desert, Part 3

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:1-3;5;7-11

“When there was no one else, that is where You showed me You are ENOUGH.”

During that time, I’m thankful the people around me were listening to God – in the things I was struggling with leading up to “the Desert”, they told me to go directly to Jesus. Honestly, it was shocking and almost hurtful when I was first told to go directly to Jesus. By myself? I felt abandoned by humans – the human connection I had a dependency for. You want me to go, physically alone, to meet someone who is just Spirit? But I will still be physically alone! I was so stuck on that plane.

But it was the best thing that I was told. Because I DISCOVERED Jesus from there. From the inside-out, He met me. Being strengthened in my spirit, and finding that I am fully loved in my spirit, and finding that He is ALWAYS with me in my spirit, trickled out into the physical. I found I was physically strengthened, loved, and not alone.

People would say, “You aren’t alone, Jesus is always with you” and I would be like, “Ok, I’m not alone, I’m not alone, I’m not alone,” thinking if I said it enough I’d believe this counter-intuitive idea. But this transitioned to KNOWING it. Knowing that it was true. I don’t have to force myself to believe it anymore. Sometimes, I have to CHOOSE to believe it when I don’t feel it, but I’ve already learned that it is true, so it makes it easier to choose to believe it now then before I knew it was true for myself.

He shifted His position in my heart. To number One. I cannot understand exactly how it happened, but it happened in the desert, and I want Him to ever be there in that place, that none would replace Him. The desert is where I learned the depth available in our relationship with Jesus. I think that when we always have people we can go to, sometimes, we can miss out on diving into the depth of relationship that is always available to us. Sometimes life will take us into places where we are totally alone. I think that God can sovereignly use those times to take us out into places where we will look to Him because we have to…there is literally no one but Him. And then we can bring what we learned into the seasons of life that are plentiful – that He is our First and Sufficient.

“…to him who led his people through the desert;
His love endures forever.”
Psalm 136:16

“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
“In that day,” declares the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
[…] I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord.
Hosea 2:14-16; 19-20

Personal Challenge:
Are you finding yourself in a desert season? Or a scarier question yet, would you like to be led by God’s Spirit into a desert season to have everything stripped away to find everything you need in Him alone? It was easily one of the hardest seasons of my life, but likely one of the seasons I drew nearer to God than ever before, in a way that lasted, not just a moment of nearness, but I was permanently changed. Let Him lead you. I am convinced that priceless gifts from God are found in the desert season.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters”
Psalm 23:2