Tuesday, August 6, 2019


When Moses arrived in the desert, he was fleeing the law, yes- but he had promise. He was a statesman, an educated orator, a leader of soldiers, and a bearer of a dream- a would-be deliverer of his people.

But he spent forty years in that desert. And when God finally called him back to Egypt, he had become a stuttering shepherd. That didn’t matter to God, we all know- that stuttering shepherd was made “a god to Pharoah," and with his staff commanded the greatest wonders of the Bible.

The greatest heroes must first have their time in the desert. Can you think of even one - Biblical, mythological, historical - who broke directly from the starting line and made a constant blaze of glory, without experiencing a premature end?

A desert might feel like stagnation, but it doesn't have to be. A butterfly spends a significant portion of its life wrapped in its chrysalis. A seed puts down many roots before its leaves ever emerge into the sunlight. An outside observer doesn't see the growth happening within, beneath. "Unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." (John 12:24)

The desert can feel dark and isolating, a place of death. It can also be a hiding place. A refuge. 

A desert feels aimless. Your pace is slow, your destination unclear. The time isn't right for "hustling" and "makin' it happen." This is the time when questions and doubts abound. You feel lost. Your dreams and goals feel ambiguous and unreachable. You settle for daily goals. You make hash marks in the sand. You recognize that this is the time and place to build character - but you don't see that growth; you must be content to merely hope it's happening... despite what feels like copious evidence of the opposite. 

It feels lonely. No one else around you seems to be there with you. Everyone else seems to know where they're going. Of course, that cannot possibly be true. We all walk through many deserts at many different times. I wish that those of us in the metaphorical desert could, in reality, simply look at each other and recognize that we're in this together. I feel lost. You want to be lost with me? There is, after all, so much beauty to enjoy here.

And there is hope. There is always hope. Hope is a beautiful, precious thing. Hope whispers, "It won't always be this way." Hope reminds you that God knows- and is there in- the desert. Hope enables you to believe that, when you are called out of the desert, you will be ready for the journey.

"Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." (Isaiah 43:19)

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