Have you ever felt like God isn’t listening? Like He was distant? Your head tells you that He’s always there or at least right around the corner, but your heart is screaming, “Where the heck is God?” I’m going to call this a desert – a spiritual desert. Now there are several possibilities here for why someone is feeling this way. There could be a lack of true knowledge of who God is. There could be sin hindering their communication with God. Or I suppose even other hindrances. But what I want to write about is the “what if.” What if God really is “holding back?” Obviously I’m not talking about the Holy Spirit leaving us, or God suddenly not being Omnipresent or anything like that. I’m just talking about the radio silence… the lack of any emotional connection… the absence of anything that resembles God connecting with you. Yeah, why might He do that?
I got some ideas:
First, He Might Be Tryin’ to Toughen You Up
God has a serious advantage on us (in every way). He knows the future. God knows what you will go through. This desert might be preparing you for something difficult on the horizon. I think of the plants and animals that survive in the desert. They’re all tough. They can survive on very little food and water. Their exterior has developed protections from their enemies. They are suited for the desert. If you were to place an orchid or fern in the dessert it would die. God might be molding you and changing you into something new to be able to survive what’s on the horizon.
Or Maybe, He Might Be Tryin’ to Teach You How To Wait
The problem with a desert is that it is without water, without food, without shelter, without air conditioning – all the things essential for life. How do you learn to wait for deliverance? How do you get “good” at waiting? You’ll have to wait. No one chooses to wait. No one goes to a doctor’s office and when their name is called says, “no thanks, let someone else go first.” We only wait when we’re forced to. But waiting is important. God tells us in Isaiah 40:31, “Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Waiting gives us a new perspective. It allows us to see things differently and really prioritize our needs. I make statements like I NEED pasta, or NEED cheese, or NEED steak. But if I’m truly hungry, I realize my only real need is food. Waiting also gives us endurance. Endurance is all about taking one more step. When I run, I can tell you I’m tired after the first minute. I make it the next 30 min by just taking one more step. I wait for relief but I know it’s at least one more step away so I take another step. By putting you through a desert, God might be teaching you to wait.
Or Even, He Might Be Tryin’ to Get You to Utilize What You Know
When life is going smoothly, what we are really saying is that I’m not facing many obstacles and whatever obstacles I am facing, I’m quickly overcoming. I got an abundance of the supplies necessary to live my life effectively. The desert is the opposite of all that. Everything is an obstacle and I don’t feel like I’m overcoming any of it. When you feel like nothing is working you start to reevaluate. You start to think outside the box. You start trying to remember everything you’ve ever learned about anything. I would never take the time to build a lean-to out of deadwood and tumbleweeds. I would never cut open a cactus to suck out the moisture. I would never hunt a lizard and eat it. UNLESS I HAD TO. I might remember all sorts of things, and I’ll certainly be willing to try anything when my back is against the wall. God might be bringing you through a desert to bring something to your remembrance or to hone a skill you might never have worked on otherwise. You try anything and everything when you think you might die. God might want to put you through a desert for you to finally start doing something you might never have otherwise.
So I can’t answer for you whether you are going through a “desert” or not. But I just know He might do it; and if He does? God might just know what He’s doing. So build up your strength and endurance. Be willing to wait on God’s deliverance; and make sure you are utilizing every last thing you know about who God is and what God wants you to do.