The sun is scorching you with what feels like laser beams of radiating heat. There’s an annoying ringing in your ears and a pounding sensation in your head. As the sand hits your face it feels tiny needles piercing your skin. The wind, it doesn’t stop here; it’s a force that continuously shifts sand and stone altering the landscape beyond all recognition. At times the gusts, hot and unpredictable, toss you around like the occasional “tumbleweed” that aimlessly races by you as if it were late for an appointment on the other side of the desert. You turn your back to the wind only to find that no matter which way you face, the wind swirls around you and soon you’re in a state of delirium. You don’t know north from south and east from west. Each step you take unknowingly forces you into a diabolical pattern of sorts. You remember hearing somewhere that if you’re right-handed, you likely favor your right leg as well and you will instinctively walk in a large circle, without the guidance of a fixed object or landscape to guide you, you’re lost.
“Just a drop of water,” you say to yourself, “would satisfy me for hours.” Your throat is parched; your tongue feels like an old piece of shoe leather and the grit from the blowing sand has found its way between your teeth as the persistent grains of sand siphon their way through your nose into your mouth. Your eyes are dry and the sand has clogged your tear ducts and each blink brings irritation and pain as your own unforgiving eyelids scrap across the surface of your eye ball like sandpaper.
The thought of dying this way never in a million years occurred to you but now it’s an increasing reality with each labored step you’re feeling closer to your doom. You just knew that you’d grow old wiling away the years in the comfort of your rocking chair.
“Do you hate me God?” You blurt out irreverent and belligerent, letting out a sarcastic chuckle, not expecting an answer anytime soon. “You’ve always been there for me before,” you yell “why are you ignoring me now?” You’d cry if there was an ounce of moisture left in you.
“How did I get here, somewhere I must have taken a wrong turn?” you mumble. “Somehow I must have mad God angry with me!”
Beneath your bare feet you feel something sharp crumble and your eyes become wide with horror as you realize it’s the dry bones of a previous traveler’s fateful demise. What shred of hope you had of survival is now gone. If you make it through this dry barren desert it won’t be by your own cunning and survival instincts. Only God can deliver you now and you become apologetic.
“Of course I know I’m not alone in all this God, I know you’re there. You said you’d always be there but I don’t feel you. I can’t see your hand at work in this. What’s worse is I don’t feel your love in this. Surely I must have done something to deserve this,” as you analyze the events of your life.
It’s easy to allow a sense of foreboding and condemnation to overwhelm you. The hopelessness is too much to bear you can easily see that giving up would be the logical thing to do here. You shrug those feelings off as you trudge on knowing full-well God wouldn’t purposely thrust you into a trial that would destroy you.
There’s a sudden silence and everything stops. Granules of sand pause in mid-air and the pounding of the sand against your wind-beaten skin stops. The throbbing in your head is gone, the sun’s torturing heat subsides and all is quiet.
There’s a whisper in the distance. As quiet as it is around you, your thoughts are still charged and your mind is still racing. You can’t make out what it is. It sounds like a still small voice, strangely familiar yet indiscernible. You shake your head as if to loosen the incessant thoughts in your brain. “Is this one of those optical illusions or a mirage?” You question.
There it is again, yes, it is a voice, but not just any voice; the voice of a man. You’re quickly humbled as you realize just whose voice it is. There’s comfort in His tone, yet strength. There’s power yet compassion. You are suddenly and wonderfully aware of the presence of your Heavenly Father. The dangers you were surrounded with have been whisked away. The impending doom has turned to peaceful serenity. The moisture has returned to your eyes evidenced by the warm tears that run down your face. They’re not tears of sorrow but of joy unspeakable and full of glory. You feel the brush of a gentle finger wipe the tears from your eyes.
As abruptly as the winds ceased you were carried away to a place that was lush and green. The breezes were gentle and calm. There were sloping valleys and majestic mountain ranges. You found yourself beside a pool of cool clear water but strangely enough the desire for water had been satisfied not by this pool but by the exchange between you and your Savior. Moments ago you would have killed for a DROP of this water but somehow your appetite for things fleshly has changed. You realize man shall not live by bread alone but by every word the proceeds out of the mouth of God. As thirsty as your body had been for the cool clear water, you see now that the desert was only a type and shadow of what your soul has been enduring for many years.
There’s been leanness in your soul; a famine for the hearing of the Word of the Lord. The dearth in your soul can only be satisfied by seeking the face of the Master. He’s tenderly pleading for you to spend time in His presence. What you thirst for now are not the pleasures of this life. What you hunger for is not the fresh warm bread of the baker. Your soul is longing for communion with the King of kings and Lord of lords.
The desperation you felt in your body was painfully paralleled spiritually in your soul. The peril your body was experiencing has been a way of life with your soul for ages. You go day after day forcing your soul to get by on the dryness never affording it the joy and release it has so desperately longed for. Your soul delights in the presence of Jesus Christ yet you let days without number go by without so much as a whispered prayer. Your wilderness experience has given you valuable insight into things eternal…things that really matter. This wasn’t some arbitrary test meant to debase and demoralize you. Remarkably, your walk through the wilderness, that dry barren land, was a painful process but had a powerful purpose. You questioned God’s presence and motive in your trial when in reality He engineered it for the benefit of your soul. Now all you can do is praise Him for revealing this life-changing truth to you before it was too late.
Psalm 63:1-5 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
By Pastor RDM