The Purpose of a Desert

            The Purpose of a Desert

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

Anne Bradstreet

A few years ago, we noticed a drop in the number of patients John saw. This resulted in a need to make changes to our daily budget due to a salary decrease. My reaction to this desert experience, surprised me. I had presumed the latter years of our lives would become easier, not harder. The ugly pride in my heart cried, “We’ve paid our dues and worked hard. Our concluding years ought to have less stress, not more.” The victim mentality in me whined, complained, and pouted, it’s not fair. I looked more like the Israelites in the desert, than I did of a daughter trusting her heavenly Daddy to take care of her.

Deuteronomy 8:2 explains why God led the Israelites into the desert. “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.” Deserts humble us and show us what is in our hearts. I am not proud to admit, what I saw, was not a pretty picture. Wilderness experiences also expose our willingness to obey God.

I can’t tell you that after I adjusted my attitude, things turned around for the better for John at work. In fact, it got worse. God used the drying up of John’s business, to guide us in our move to Wichita.

This year has been characterized by grief. I’ve wept numerous times over the upcoming loss of our family, friends, and church we leave behind, as we obey God’s hand of direction. This desert has humbled me, but I’m grateful my heart is in a much better place, one of deepened trust with my Father.

I’ve grown to appreciate this desert experience. God used it to show me the ugliness of my heart, to instill humility, and to encourage obedience toward Him. It’s made me a better, not bitter, daughter of the King.

“In this life we will encounter hurts and trials that we will not be able to change; we are just going to have to allow them to change us.”

Ron Lee Davis

Relevant Reflections:

1. What have you discovered is really in your heart, because of trials?

2. How have trials made you better, looking more like Christ?

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