Desert Dweller

Psalm 68: 6

God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

It is easy for us to get “religious” and when we do, we create a whole bunch of sayings, expressions, doctrine and habits that are not Biblical. Today’s verse points out one of those religious ideas that is completely foreign to God.

It has become rather common for Christians to talk about being in a desert period. This is a religious idea, meaning more about man-made conception that Spirit led reality. There was the time our Lord was led out into the desert. That may be where we got the idea that people should have desert experiences. God, however, said that only the rebellious live in the parched land. So what are we doing out in the desert?

I have had my desert experiences too. As a matter of fact, there was a two-year period when I was parched and thirsty. Then I discovered something. My Father didn’t intend me to be out in the desert alone. For that is what the desert experience is – a time of being alone when it seems as though the presence of God has withdrawn. God did not name His son Immanuel (God is with us) so that we could go dwell in the desert by ourselves. He didn’t send the Holy Spirit to “be with you forever,” (John 14: 16) just so we could go live in the desert alone.

Jesus went into the desert for a short period of time. He was led there by the Spirit and he most definitely was not without God or the Spirit one moment of that time. His “desert” experience was vastly different from ours. It was a time with God; a time of reflection, introspection and conviction. It was not a time apart from God. His soul was not deserted. In fact, Father sent angels to minister to Jesus’ needs and Jesus emerged from the wilderness victorious.

Most Christians put on sackcloth and weary faces as they talk about their desert experience. They don’t describe a time of revelation or of communion with God. They describe a time of dwelling in a parched land. They act like God has abandoned them to the desert and that, my friends, is a grand deception. Jesus promised that he would never leave us, the Spirit is our constant “go along”, and God promised He would never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13: 5).

Therefore, we can now recognize that the “desert experience” is a misconception. It is not God inspired. He is not and never will leave you stranded in the desert. He is with you day and night to support and protect you. If you’ve got a tent pitched out in the desert, jerk up its stakes and go pitch it by the stream. That is where the Father leads us (Psalm 23). Anything else is a lie.

Home for the Holidays

Psalm 68: 6

God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

The holidays are a time of friends and family and yet for many people, it is the loneliest time of the year. A friend of mind mentioned recently that loneliness is a pronounced contributor to mental illness. Most of us have dealt with loneliness at some point in our lives but God is present to say, today, that we need not be lonely. We have a God who cares for us. Moreover, He is a caring, loving father and He has made a place for us in His heart.

I want you to know that God is actively thinking about you right now. He has plans for your well-being. Despite your current situation, you do not have to live apart from love. The transformation, however, often takes place inside of you first. Some of us are alone because some of our decisions led us into the place of aloneness. Whatever is in our hearts, though, that keeps us isolated, can be renewed so that we find a world of people who are willing and even desirous of spending time with us.

Have you ever felt you were living in a desert? I sure have and I never want to go back to those times. This verse says that our isolation in the desert came out of our rebellious nature. Those are not easy words to hear but for me it was true. When I relaxed into my relationship with God and ceased striving and toiling for everything, including hearing His voice, then I began to find a new relationship with Him. My effort and self-reliance separated me from Him. I tried so hard but finding is easy when you stop trying and simply open your eyes. He is right there, I promise, but we build such walls around ourselves that our perceptions become numb and His voice muted.

God created this entire planet, everything on it and even the solar system in which it revolves just so He could have a family. He didn’t create deserts for His children. Deserts exist in our lives when we do not allow Him to pour His living water into us. They are of our own making. He gave us Eden and we turned it into a desert. Here is the good news, though. We have the same power to renew Eden into the glorious garden of our heart where we can, and do, walk with God in the cool of the evening.

I pray that this Christmas season, you find new connections with your Divine Father and that those bonds lead you to increased relations with others so that you will never experience loneliness again. I pray that the joy of God’s heart will be reverberate in yours this season. When we connect with Yahweh in the way He intended, we never will feel alone again. Happy Holidays!