While we lived in California, we were able to spend some time in the Mojave Desert. I’m grateful for the experience as part of my preparation to mine the riches of Exodus for our current Sunday morning preaching series. One does not think of “Death Valley” as a place to go for lessons about life, but it’s actually substantive training ground. Because of the harsh and unusual weather conditions, there are life forms (plants, animals, and even water creatures) that can’t live anywhere else. That’s why you’ve never been served a plate of triops (tadpole shrimp) at Red Lobster.
All that to say this: When God puts us in the “desert” – what we might think of as a dry spiritual experience, or a period that seems more like restless wandering than smooth sailing – it really should be for us a time of hope, expectation, and growth in real-life faith. God is up to something! It’s get-us-ready time! Hold on to your hat! Something better is coming down the pike, but this time is not to be lost – it matters as an important part of our Lord’s good plan for us.
We’re only in Exodus 2 in our study, but already we see Moses learning some critical lessons about desert life that will serve God’s people well in days (and in fact years) ahead. He’s learning the geography and topography – how to get around, how to find water, and how to survive in general. This will come in handy, to say the least.
Maybe you’re in a bit of a holding pattern with the Lord. You’ve been asking Him to move mountains, but you haven’t yet seen your present circumstances budge one iota. Stay strong! Look up! Trust God with all your heart! He’s doing something in you that needs to be done. (How cool is that? Again, pun fully intended.)
“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it” (Isaiah 41:17-20).
So if your present struggle – even if it’s just the struggle of having to wait (there’s that dreaded word) – is producing in your soul even a trickle of spiritual thirst, praise God! What better place could you be!
The Promised Land is coming, but today our Christ is more than enough. There is Life, even in the desert.