When I say desert, what comes to your mind?

Perhaps the brilliant stars, the bursting colors, or the brisk, cool evening air that brings relief from the day’s heat. Such thoughts refer to physical deserts, but I’m thinking of the periods in our lives that leave us feeling desperate, disillusioned, and dry.

Desert seasons lack sparkling stars and brilliant colors, don’t they?

Some of you have been there; some of you are there right now. In this broken world of ours, we all will pass through a desert or two . . . or more.

Needing a Cool Drink

Not long ago, I found myself recalling a former desert period in my life. During my time in that spiritual desert, breathing was a robotic action, time ticked along slowly, my soul was barren, and I felt bewildered in my faith. I wanted to sit, waste away, and stop my mind from thinking, which it rarely does.

Deep down, I longed to find joy and laughter that had been my constant companion. But life continued as it always had, with no grand shazam or poof . . . all is well. Time had to pass for transformation to take place. It is hard to believe that vibrant life develops in desert places because the landscape seems awfully dusty and dismal.

Following my visit to this once forsaken spot, I reflected on what God had done in my life as a result of my desert experience.

Let me share them with you.

3 Truths about Desert Experiences

I pass these thoughts along to you in case you or someone you know needs a bit of hope or some help trudging through the dusty desert.

  1. We are never alone in the desert. Though we often feel alone, God is more present than ever. In the desert, God removes our dependencies, our delights, and all we have hoped for in this life, and it feels awful at the moment. But desert experiences reveal our true character and give us the choice, either to depend on God to transform us or to reject Him and run. Letting go and trusting God is hard, so it helps to reflect on others who have faced that same choice. Think of Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, Hannah, Ruth, Job, Jeremiah, Daniel, Paul, the disciples, and certainly Christ Himself. They were all desert dwellers, and God did amazing things in and through them! We know the end of their stories, but yours is still being written. Clinging to Christ will result in your own amazing story.
  2. We must choose upon whom to fix our minds because there’s a lot of thinking time in the desert. We can ruminate on the past, the losses, the wrongs and become dry and ugly or we can think on truth and become vibrant and lovely. I chose to fix my mind on truth . . . to firmly focus on God’s eternal Word. I frequently read passages like Job 23:8–10; Psalm 1; 27; 40–41; 90– 91; 119; 121; Isaiah 26:2–9; Matthew 5:3–12; Romans 5:1–5; 2 Corinthians 1:2–22; and Philippians 2; 4. How is God’s truth quenching your thirsty soul?
  3. Deserts reveal our attitudes, senses of entitlement, expectations, and our broken, selfish conditions. Time in the desert gives us the opportunity to change our perspective and our attitude. Characteristics of a good attitude include gratitude, thankfulness, humility, purity, peacekeeping, gentleness, kindness, mindfulness, grace, sacrifice, tenderness, mercy, honesty, and authenticity. Attitude change begins when we stop demanding answers and trust God’s purpose. How is your attitude these days?

Let Me Hear from You

As I returned from a visit to the desert of my past, I realized God had used that time to change me. Now it’s your turn.

  • If you are currently in the desert, are you choosing Christ and trusting in Him?
  • I would love to encourage you—we all need support to endure. Please share your experience below.

Question: If you have endured deserts in the past, what have you learned that you can pass along? What an encouragement you could be to others! You can leave a comment by clicking here.