How Time Alone in the Desert Impacts Our Faith
I barely made it through the front door. The tears welling up on the drive from work began to slide down my cheeks the moment I crossed the threshold and closed the door behind me.
Through watery eyes, I looked around this place.
This place I’m supposed to call home. But it was void of anything that resembles home.
Home is where your people are; your family and your friends.
But there is no one here. Not my children or my mom. Not my friends or even my dog. No one.
Each night I come “home” to an empty place that does not house my children or hold my memories. There are no voices or footsteps. No chatter of friends gathering. And the dining room table is always set for one.
Three months prior to that night I was transferred to a new city on the other side of the state.
Faking bravery, I packed up my things and drove away from my family, my friends, my church, and worst of all, my young-adult children and the home we shared together.
It was more than my heart could bear, and that night it all came crashing down around me.
Feeling completely and utterly alone, I collapsed on the sofa and wept.
The ache to be home with my children immobilized my heart in a place of aloneness .
Eventually, I made it to my knees. Why, God? Why?
Why did you bring me to this place of isolation? This desert. I am hurting, Lord; I can’t do this.
Please God, I want to go home.
His whispers grabbed my heart. I am with you, and I am with your children. Fix your eyes on Me.
For months I had felt isolated. Alone. Lacking purpose. That night I was reminded of the Israelites wandering in the desert. And I decided God was allowing me to have my very own little desert experience.
The Israelites had to rely on God to provide their most basic need – food. Manna from heaven. They could not sow and reap, or hunt game. In the desert, they could not live independent of God. (Exodus 16)
And just to be sure they understood He was their sole provider while they wandered in the desert, He didn’t dole out a month’s worth of manna. No, daily they had to rely on Him. And daily He provided.
In this desert season, God is leading me to more fully trust Him to provide manna for my soul during the messy moments of life.
I live on a lake in the new city and my back patio faces west. The post picture is one of the incredible sunsets God provides most evenings.
And just like the best sunsets require clouds, many times wisdom and blessings come through trials.
James tells us to count it as pure joy when we go through trials for it is there that we have a divine encounter with God that transforms us.
“Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV
Trials perfect our faith. They provide opportunity to grow by turning hardships into learnings and ultimately into joy.
So through every lost job and every broken relationship. Through every dreaded diagnosis and every child gone astray.
For every desert moment of our lives, God is there waiting to provide.
We need only come to Him. Daily. And take our portion of manna. And daily He will joyfully provide, in full measure, exactly what we need for that day.
I think I needed to be in the wilderness; just God and me. Stripped of every distraction. In the desert, I can see Him more clearly and hear His heart speak deeply to mine.
I talked with God, walked with God, prayed to God, knelt down before God, laughed with God, and cried with God during this desert time more fervently than ever before.
Sometimes you turn a corner on your faith journey.
A corner where God reveals Himself to you in such a profound way, you’ll never need to circle back and re-learn that revelation again.
He took my hand and led me around another corner that night. Revealing His heart, growing my faith, and unfolding His plan.
And in that moment I knew I could face anything as long as I stayed tethered to Him.
I’ve been in this desert for nine months now and I’ve made a couple new friends. Of course, my heart still longs to live closer to my children. And I still flutter between both homes feeling a bit home-less at times. So no, I’m not glowing like Moses… I still need to take my portion every day.
And He shows up in the sunset outside my back patio to remind me He is with me in the desert; through the trials. Reminding me that one day we will be in our true home. Our Eden.
Where there are no deserts and no trials. And where it just might not require clouds to create a glorious sunset!
So many of life’s trials can make us feel alone in the desert. But God is with you! He is waiting for you to slip your hand in His and allow Him to lead you around the corners in the wilderness. Please share your trials and triumphs in the comments. Our lives are a testimony and a healing balm for others.
A Truth: “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 NIV
A Song: There Will Be A Day by Jeremy Camps (click to listen)
A Read: When God Doesn’t Fix It: Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can’t Live Without, By Laura Story
A Prayer: Father, I am so grateful You are here with me in the desert. I know I am not alone in this place of aloneness. Thank you for taking me around the next corner of my faith journey. For growing my trust. Please continue to have the trials of this life prompt me to chase hard after You. That is the learning You have put on my heart. A learning that has now become a yearning to know You better and love You deeper. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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