Hard times and difficult struggles often seem like wandering through the desert. But do you ever find yourself feeling like you’re not just moving through the desert but around it making laps? Feelings of isolation occur even for the faithful chosen. Loneliness and abandonment are often the reactions when the heat comes on and the water appears to dry up. This can create feelings of directionless and just not knowing the way to turn. When we reach this corner, it is time to refocus and call upon help.
A missionary couple brought a group of African pastors to the U.S. for a conference. During their free time, the pastors wanted to go shopping. Even though they were in a relatively small town, the missionary knew there was a chance one of them might have some problems finding their way around or get lost. So, the missionary gave each pastor his cell phone number in case of emergency. In less than an hour, the missionary’s phone rang with one of the pastor’s crying out, ”I’m lost!”
The missionary replied, ”Go to the street corner, find out the names of the two streets, and tell me what they are. Within just a few minutes the African pastor reported, ”I am at the corner of ”˜Walk’ and ”˜Don’t Walk’.”
When we find ourselves in the desert, lost, unstable, and with indecision pouring over us sometimes we begin to make laps never really getting anywhere. In these desert laps options appears limited. It is at this time we must remember that He chooses us and so by leaning upon Him we gain strength, stability, and direction.
It is important to remember, especially in times fraught with problems, thatÂ the heart of God chose us and not because of our own device. This gives the incentive to please Him allowing gratitude to take over and dispel complacency. As we realign our focus upon Him with grateful hearts our attitude changes dramatically even in the desert.
God’s choice of us energizes us to obey and serve. Our choice of God challenges us to build lives worthy of Him. This faithfulness leads us beside the still waters and calms our souls as we recognize that life is not about us but about Him. He chose us to be born and presents His plan of salvation for us. God secures us with His decision by calling us to Him every day. He never gives up on us even when we insist on going away from Him or become too busy to stop and acknowledge the one who gives us life.
Our Lord never stops choosing and reaching out to us and He never will. Joy overflows as we recognize that God has always known us and that His love is eternal. There is none greater and He is the only one that holds the ability to guide and protect us in the desert. Because of this, we must live our lives for Him. By keeping our focus on God, living for Him, and placing our faith fully upon Him we can stop making laps and make it through the desert to the oasis of eternity as that is where He chooses for us to be.
We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be His own people. 1 Thessalonians 1:4 (NLT)
Over the Obstacles
Every year approximately 1000 people attempt to climb Mount Everest but less than half that amount actually succeed. But even more daunting is that in May of 2001, Erik Weihenmayer, accomplished that feat completely blind. He chose to focus on what he could do over what he could not do. Because of this, he went a lot further than anyone ever expected.
Each day you face choices. You can choose to allow obstacles in the desert to stop you or you can remember that God already chose you. Because of this, you can keep moving forward through the desert instead of laps around it. When you find yourself in the dry land, the shadows of the valley or the rough waters you can choose to focus on God for He will help you make it over your obstacles.
Choosing God doesn’t mean a life on earth of pleasure because the reality is that most of the time doing what is right requires climbing over an obstacle. Because salvation begins and ends with God there is nothing you can do to be saved on your own. You hold a responsibility to work hard to prove that you are among those that God chose and to develop the qualities of Christ by turning from sin.
What to do in the Desert?
In the desert time, you must choose to consistently strive to be Christ-like. Reviewing your daily experiences and looking for the benefits and patterns allows you to place your focus on Him. Learning from mistakes and not ignoring them is necessary. This develops the neededÂ maturity in Christ that comes from understanding and managing the everyday experiences.
For even before God made the world, He loved and choose for you through Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. (Ephesians 1:4) God chooses to be with you because He loves you. So, challenge yourself to choose to live a Christ-like life every day to honor Him. Allow your convictions to drive your life even in the desert. Find your motivation in knowing that He chose you long before the world was made. And surround yourself in His comfort knowing that no matter what, He continues to choose and reach out to you.
He waits for you in the ordinary moments with continued gifts of grace and love. The desert times will not disappear but by receiving His love and knowing you belong to Him the obstacles lose their power.
Love in Christ,
A typical concert piano has over 240 strings that, when tuned and tightened, create a pull of 40,000 pounds on the frame. Without the tension, there is no beautiful music.
What are your thoughts?Â
Have you found yourself in the hot and dusty desert? Do you refocus when you find your making laps in the sand? Have you acknowledged that God chose you? Join the discussion on remembering the importance that God chose you no matter your circumstances and that He is consistently reaching out to you.