Sunday, October 30, 2011

Surviving the Deserts of the LORD

“Surely the LORD your God has blessed you in all your undertakings; he knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.” ~Deuteronomy 2:7 (NRSV).

It’s fascinating to find this location, and once there to find it again and again.

The specific vicinity is the parched land of the spirit—dried out in the presence of a vacuum where the spirit’s spirituality has, through no fault of its own, been left to wither and slowly die for the faintness of hope and joy. There is, however, a classic irony; maturity is forged never more quickly as we survive the deserts of the Lord.

An overstated, though thoroughly alluring, reality is the felt Presence, known emotionally, of the Almighty God.

Many of the most revered Christian servants were infirmed by Spiritual paralysis.

And although we may now enjoy the blessed anointing—the gift of God’s felt Presence—we daren’t take it for granted. It is not only disobedience that discharges such a reality; part of the mystery of God suggests anyone is susceptible.

Reassurances of the Lord

How incredible it is to comprehend that, though the Lord turned his back on the people for forty years, and seventy during the great exile of Babylon, the living God never abandoned the chosen nation of Israel. He never abandons us.

We would be deceived to think that the deserts of the Lord, those dark nights of the soul, are God’s final word, and the only thing to be said on the matter.

It seems that way.

The deceiver is the accuser (Revelation 12:10) and the enemy of God.

That selfsame enemy will punch through our conscious awareness and indwell our spiritual immune system, compromising the integrity of our wellbeing. This will, without much doubt, occur if we forget, or lose touch with, the eternal reassurances of the Lord to never leave us nor forsake us. It’s such a simple thing to forget.

When Deserts Cannot Conquer We Are Invincible in the LORD

As the Apostle James proclaims, “Whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy” (James 1:2), he redeems for us knowledge of victory out of the vast landscape of ostensible defeat.

Forty years in the desert. Capture that in your mind. Think about it for a month, or six, or ninety-six. Still they were wandering. But they didn’t wander forever.

As we wander in our deserts of want, seemingly for an eternity, faith tells us the Lord is still there. And sooner or later the grip of drought will cease. The famine will make way for plenteousness. And still, even in a vacuum, God is providing.

Only as we look back, considering the tremulous road we have endured, do we distinguish the path of God’s Presence with us. Even, especially even, in the consignment of spiritual desolation we can see it. We can know it as God.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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