Summary: Our journey through the desert to find God in difficult times.
The Desert Journey
August 23, 2009
Have you ever been to the desert? It’s a fun place to go to . . . as long as you don’t run into some animals we may not consider all that friendly, and as long as you know your time in the desert is coming to an end.
Usually when we think about the desert, we think about going to Death Valley or the Mojave Desert in the United States. Did you know the United States has 7 named deserts. We think about the desert as if we were on a journey through the largest hot desert, the Sahara in Africa.
We think about the heat and we begin to feel dehydrated, we’re and thirsty as we journey through the largest desert in the world, the Sahara. But is the Sahara the largest desert?
Actually, it isn’t the largest desert in the world. In fact, the largest desert in the world would surprise you, because the largest desert in the world is an entire continent . . . Antarctica.
That’s right, the Antarctic is the largest desert in the world. You see, a desert is not measured by heat, but by precipitation – how much rain or snow falls in a year. Any place which receives less than 10 inches is a desert. The Antarctic, believe it or not, receives an average of between 2-10 inches per year. So a desert can be a very hot, dry place, but it can also be a very cold place. Did you know a 3rd way to define a desert, is a place that has more evaporation than precipitation.
This morning we’re going to talk about the desert. About our journey through life which leads us not so much physically into the desert, but spiritually and emotionally on a journey through the desert of life.
There’s a life metaphor in the desert, isn’t there? We can call it the desert of the soul. Sometimes we enter the desert on our own doing.
Maybe it’s a mistake we’ve made, maybe it’s the result of our sin, and we’ve entered the desert. A 2nd way to enter the desert is through life situations in which you didn’t do anything wrong, but circumstances have led you there. A 3rd way to enter the desert comes from God. God has decided that this is the season for you to enter the desert. He has a plan for you, because when you leave the desert you will be a different person, a person who is more Christ-like.
Some of you may be in that desert season right now. You might be in one of those deserts where the heat is turned up and your life seems fruitless. You feel like you’re wilting in the heat. Your body, heart and spirit are ebbing away. You’re walking through the hot Sahara desert, and there seems to be no end to it. It could be a family or financial crisis. Or maybe you’re facing a leadership crisis and everything you worked so hard for is withering on the vine. No rain has fallen in a long time, and you find yourself living on memories of past encounters with God, wishing life could be like it used to be. Your prayer is, “God, where are you?”
Or maybe you’re in a season when your heart has turned cold and hard. There’s nothing left to give, you’re burned out. Maybe it’s something someone did to you. You were the victim and now you’re the one suffering. Ever been down that road? Your angry and filled with passion, yet at the same time, you just don’t care anymore.
Maybe your angry with God over something He did or didn’t do. You’re losing your passion for life; and your passion for God. It seems like He’s left you, and your prayers are just bouncing off the walls. When you muster the energy to pray, it sounds like a deep sigh with the words, “God, I just don’t care anymore.”
Or maybe you’re in one of those desert seasons when you’re giving out more than you’re taking in. Any rain that fall evaporates before it has a chance to soak in. You’ve got too many plants in the ground and not enough water to go around. There’s so much demanded of you and only so much of you to meet those demands. You’re running on empty. The wind is howling and you feel like you’re going to drop. Your desert prayer is, “God, I’m running on empty.”
How do we meet the Lord when we find ourselves in a desert of the soul?
The Bible tells us that God spoke to many people in the desert. He spoke to Abraham in the desert. He spoke to Jacob in the desert. He spoke to Moses and Elijah in the desert. He led Jesus into the desert. And many times He spoke to David in the desert.