Our God is the God of the Desert

I have a very simple message that I feel God is slowly but powerfully kneading into my soul. Kalle shared a story from her recent trip to Israel, and it has affected my perspective of my circumstances tremendously. It was based on this common Jewish saying: Our God is the God of the Desert.

The desert has often been etched in our minds as a metaphorical jail or time-out spot where only the wicked and Satan himself resides. However, the desert is much more multifaceted and purposeful than its perceived stigma as a fugitive’s wasteland. The desert is where many miracles are bred, where heroes and heroines of the faith have been wisely trained up, and where the hopeless hear the voice of the Divine more clearly than before. The desert is often times God’s preferred terrain for displaying his tender care, wild power, and jealous love over his people.

The desert is not just a place but also a season.  Before we know it, we have somehow entered this season, unprepared and unwilling – but the journey and the timing are not so much to the choosing of the Christian pilgrim whose eyes are set on Christ.  For it is God’s holy and perfect will that we should traverse the desert faithfully and with great anticipation that the one who has entered in poverty and pain, pride and discouragement will exit with hope, strength, power and wonder.

The Bible is littered with stories of the desert/ wilderness where those whom we now consider saints experienced heavenly glories when they instead expected ruin. The desert isn’t always gentle; its abrasiveness and isolation are meant to bring us to poverty before unveiling great riches spoken over and to us. Consider reading these stories to understand this truth:

-        Mephibosheth, 2 Samuel 9 (Living as an invalid in Lo-deBar, pretty much a Podunk town in the wilderness)

-        David, 1 Samuel 19 (Running for his life from those who wanted him dead)

-        Moses, Exodus 2 (Fearful after having murdered an Egyptian, he fled into the wilderness)

-        And of course Jesus, Matthew 4 (being led by the Spirit into 40 days of trial and fasting)

I share all this as I reflect on my own desert experiences.

I have witnessed that every desert has begun with great confusion, pain, and loneliness. Yet, in similar pattern, every desert has concluded with new wisdom, a wild renewal of my spirit, and glorious revelations of Christ’s love over me. 

My thirst was ultimately satisfied, my mourning turned to rejoicing, and my despair always overcome by even greater gladness in my God and my Lord.  His faithfulness has not let me down. His sovereignty is reaffirmed.

So if you are journeying as a pilgrim like me and find yourself suddenly among arid terrain where hope seems to be fading – consider this: the heroes of faith before us, even Christ himself, testifies to the fact that our God is the God of the Desert, and He has led you there to tell you of His great love and gracious ways. He has led you there not for your demise but for your renewal and transformation. O, how He loves us.

Consider what it means to persevere and faithfully pass through the deserts in your life. What were the responses/ actions of those from the stories mentioned above? Pray for God’s work in your desert seasons and for those in our church also in the midst of the desert currently. For we are his people and at some point in time, we will each have our own desert story – each ending with great gladness for His perfecting love over us.

Peace and Grace,

-Brandon Holmes

Brandon Holmes is a native of Charlotte. He has been a member of Redemption since 2013. Brandon guest preaches and has been known to drop the occasional spoken word during a Sunday service. Brandon loves trying out different restaurants all across the city and bike riding uptown.