When God Takes You Through The Desert

God leads every believer into the desert at one time or another.

Well, maybe not every believer.  I can’t give you a Bible verse that says that.  But in over 30 years of pastoring, I’d say God leads most believers into the desert at one time or another.

Moses spent 40 years in the desert before God raised him up to lead Israel out of Egypt. As soon as God delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt he took them into the desert. David did a lot of desert time hiding out from Saul before God made him king.  And the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert after his baptism for 40 days.

Lots of circumstances can be “deserts.”

A prolonged sickness can be a desert. Moving to a new place or joining a new church where you don’t know anyone can be one.  Being stuck in a miserable or boring job instead of the fulfilling career you had hoped for can be a desert.  A rebellious child or an unbelieving spouse can be a desert.

When we’re in the desert it can feel like God’s not doing anything.  Or he’s set us aside.  But God is always at work. He uses desert experiences in many ways, as we see in Dt 8:2-6:

Deserts humble us

And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you (v2)

Deserts reveal what is in our hearts

Testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. (v2)

Deserts teach us to live by God’s word

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (v3)

Deserts teach us that God can provide for us in any circumstance.

Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.  (v4)

Deserts teach us to fear and obey God

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you.  So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. (v5-6)

When Moses, Israel, David, and Jesus were in the desert God was preparing them for something greater.  If you’re in the desert right now, know that God is at work in your life. Don’t despair. Trust God.  He’s doing great things in you.

Comments

  1. Larry says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the post. And I can certainly testify to all the above! And your last paragraph is so important. Without knowing it was part of the Father's loving plan for me, I would never had the strength to carry on, because desperation would have set in. For me, the most important sentence was your shortest, "Trust God."

    • MarkAltrogge says

      Larry, you too have continued to trust God through a very hard trial and your trust in him is so pleasing to him.

  2. Maurice says

    This is a GREAT post. As an Adult Sunday School teacher I regularly use your posts to inspire my class. We just started Ray Vander Laan's teaching "Walking Through The Desert With God.". This is a tremendous message for God's people.

    • MarkAltrogge says

      Thanks so much, Maurice. I\’m honored you\’d use any of our posts in your class. I hadn\’t heard of that teaching – thanks for mentioning it.

  3. says

    This was so encouraging to me this morning. Thank you for writing here. I found myself saying 'Yes!' to each of your points. My husband and I have been in the dessert lately and many of these truths have been present in our lives. Even though it has been one of the most difficult experiences of our married life, it has also been one of the most beautiful. God is still good.

    • Mark Altrogge says

      Hi Sarah, thanks for your comments. I’m sorry to hear that you have been going through a hard time – a desert – but for you to say that God is good brings him so much glory!

      • says

        Wow. Well, truth be told, according to the scale, I have also been "in the dessert lately" too, ha! Seriously, most of my brain cells departed after the birth of our first son. My second son took what was left, apparently : )

        • Mark Altrogge says

          Those pesky babies stealing brain cells! I think there’s probably lots of women who can identify with you.

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