by Terri Fullerton

When I looked down a sandy and charcoal object protruded through the sienna dirt. I yelled for my husband. I bent down and dug around the mass and pulled out a fossilized shell the size of my hand. With childlike wonder, I showed the ranch owner. He smiled and said I could have it as he finds them in the fields often.

What I excavated is a bivalve from the Cretaceous Period, 65 million to 136 million years ago.

It delights me when I scour a dry creek bed and find fossils. It excites me to discover a pair of top quality hiking shoes or a cozy fleece jacket at a consignment store. Maybe you’re more like my sister-in-law who has an extraordinary eye for high-quality jewelry at thrift stores.

Did you know that there are treasures to discover in your desert season as well? It’s not a season without purpose. There are riches that money can’t buy. The desert is full of treasures. Keep your eyes open.

Intimacy with God.
We get to know God in a way we’ve never known him. He is closer than our next breath and we can feel his comforting presence. Our deserts are a place of revelation. We gain an understanding that his love is not based on choices or productivity. God’s love doesn’t come after we do something and it isn’t based on any “if”. His love always comes first and it never runs out. It just runs deeper.

We realize we can’t find freedom separate from God. The Israelites who were freed from bondage still had a whole lot of Egypt still in their hearts. In our wandering, we see our strongholds: fear insecurity, pride, idolatry. The desert is often a time God uses to break the chains and demolish strongholds. We respond with prayers of thanksgiving and worship.

Through trust, our faith is deepened and by relying on God, whatever the trial, our trust becomes stronger when we trust in God. Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was fully persuaded that God could do what he had promised.

God equips us
We learn we can do all things that he calls us to by remaining in Christ, who strengthens us through his spirit. He gives discernment to hear his voice and courage to match our calling. He provides streams of grace– his mercy never ceasing. He gives us hope and develops perseverance in our trials to make it to our milestones.

We gain the wisdom that our joy doesn’t come from the circumstances. Paul pens words of encouragement from prison. He waits for news of his possible execution because of a cocktail of corrupt governing officials and false charges. He has learned how to flourish whether rich or poor, in times of fellowship or isolation. We can be hard pressed but not crushed in spirit.

We realize God is for us. God is with us, and his love is unfailing.Trust is a forever invitation.
When we risk believing God, it builds our ability to take more risks because we learn He is faithful, good, loving, and kind.

We mine the truth of whose we are and whose we are not. Isaiah shares that God redeems us. He calls us by name. We are his. The Psalmist tells us God knows the number of hairs on her head. And all the colors my hair has seen. There is nothing we can do to stop belonging to God.

The treasures we find are not to be hidden. The grace poured out to us is not to be hoarded. We honor God and show ourselves to be the disciples of Christ by our generous love.

Blessed be the God and Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

What about you? What are treasures you have mined in your desert? 

Terri compels her readers to live a better story by stepping into adventure, finding freedom, and deepening your faith. She is working on her Masters in New Testament at Northern Seminary. Her passions include reading, writing, hiking, photography, finding fossils, and traveling. She and her husband have 2 daughters and a son-in-law and love family gatherings.
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This post first appeared here.  Cover photo by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash.