Monday, June 6, 2011

A Dry and Weary Land

I dunno what it is about my family, but we like to travel. Like, a lot. Granted, that’s died down a little in the past few years, but I’ve seen a lot of places all around the world. However, I cannot claim that I’ve ever been in the desert.

But at the same time, I can say with certainty that I have been in the desert. Confused?

There come periods in every Christian’s life where he goes through what we shall label “the desert.” (I did not coin this term.) These periods are times when we are far from God and he cannot be felt to be near. We desperately thirst for the water of being close with God, but, in our search, we only get more and more thirsty. It’s as if we’re screaming out to the heavens in our hour of need, and God simply can’t or won’t hear us.

Psalm 63 discusses this scenario: "O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water."

“That’s cruelty!” we say. “If we desire to know God, He should reveal Himself to us!”

Oh, the arrogance of man. We treat God as if He’s a vending machine: “I’ll put in the cash, and You give me my stuff. And be quick about it.” And the sad part about it is that almost all of us think like this. But see, we miss one very important piece of information.

In Isaiah 55, God says, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"

In other words, “Hey, fool! I stand outside of time and see everything. I am everywhere at every second. Don’t you think that I know a little bit more than you do?”

In fact, the Bible dedicates one entire book to the age old question: “Why doesn’t God just show up?” It’s called Job, and to make a long book short, God allows Satan to kill all of Job’s children, burn everything he owns, destroy his life from the ground up, and leave him only with the most annoying wife in the world. So Job gets frustrated and asks God why He’s just sitting there doing nothing about it.

God’s response?

He basically goes through outlining the entire realm of the world and asks Job if he was there when God created it all. God verbally curb stomps Job with the fact that he is limited in his knowledge and understanding of what’s happening in the world. God shows him how finite and restricted he is in order to show him that he has no right to question the plans of Almighty God.

In today’s culture, we have a world-view that claims, “If you put your mind to it, you can do anything!” So, because of this ridiculous belief, we gravitate towards thinking that if we come up with a solution to an issue, it is automatically the best way to go. But time and time again, we see just how false this belief really is.

Think about it. The internet was supposed to be our solution to saving time and effort. What has it done? It has made our lives busier and more hectic. What about food? We are now able to make more food than ever before in the history of man. What has that done? It has led to either obesity or malnutrition.

All of our solutions to deep issues are flawed.

So when God says that He knows better than we do, He’s saying, “I know you think the solution to your problem is having me take you out of the desert ASAP, but I know more than you do. And because of that, I know that you need to just stay here for a while.”

If you look at the Psalms, it’s basically like reading the diary of a bipolar whack-job. One minute, the author is saying that he can drown in God’s powerfully present love, and the next he’s saying that he’ll die if God doesn’t show up. That’s because the Psalmist was well acquainted with those periods of extreme joy and happiness in the Lord, but, at the same time, he was well aware of the periods of extreme loneliness.

I believe that God uses those times to grow us in the areas that He needs us to stop using the baby bottle. He uses those times to build up areas that we’re weak in. He may even use those times for reasons we won’t know until later, but whatever the case is, He uses it for a reason.

I used to get hung up on how mean God was to Job in their conversation, but it dawned on me that I missed the point: after God shows Job how weak and limited he truly is, He restores to him all of the things that God allowed him to lose.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell you that God will rectify all of your circumstances, but He will, according to Matthew 7, restore you to a right relationship with Him.

But our responsibility is to be patient and steadfast in pursuing Christ, even in the darkest of nights.


When you mentioned the desert it reminded me of Hebrews 3:8-19 When God sent His people through the desert in order to get to the promised land. After seeing all the miracles He performed for 40years and eating manna they grew tired of it.In a way we can relate these verses to our lives.When were going through hard times(the desert)sometimes we get used to hearing God's word (manna)and begin to crave the pleasures of the world more than the things of the Spirit (We begin to miss Egypt.)Thats why I think its so important to encourage one another everyday so none of us will stumble in the desert but grow stronger spiritually. James 1:2-4 pretty much sums it up too

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