by Terri Fullerton
As we plodded across the parched bed of the lake the cracks grew wider and deeper as if the ground split open for air. Deliberate steps to avoid twisting an ankle slowed me down. The drought-ridden terrain reminded me of times we trudge through our own emotional and spiritual deserts.
The wilderness tests our footing, our focus, and our faith. It’s both boot camp and spiritual battleground.
We are often weary from waiting. Circumstances distract us and we can become overwhelmed. Our efforts start to feel sluggish when the Sinai Trail seems endless.
How do we flourish in our desert?
We must seek the kind of rest that nourishes our soul and reminds us of truth. Our enemy prowls around seeking someone to devour. We need to travel sober-minded and prepared.
Rest that nourishes
My husband and I trudged through a season of parenting heartache we had never known existed. Our prayers bubbled up in tears and groans in our spirit. We needed to unplug from the noise. We packed our camping gear and headed to the Davis Mountains in west Texas.
When I think of mountains, I think of cooler temperature, walking through the woods, cool shady breezes and the aroma of pine. I could not have been more wrong. The summer was hot and west Texas lacks trees. We found out from fellow campers a meteor shower was expected over the weekend. The next night we went to the McDonald Observatory. After looking through several massive telescopes we returned to the amphitheater. We laid on our backs and watched as emerald meteors zoomed across the indigo canvas, spotted with millions of pinholes of light.
We returned to the car at three in the morning. Our posture changed from looking out to looking up. God nourished our souls and filled us with wonder at his marvelous works. He captivated our hearts by His creation. We weren’t exhausted. We were refreshed.
Rest that strengthens and restores
During our difficult seasons of waiting, longing, and grieving we find rest that restores hope and strengthens our faith by reading God’s Word. In a season of trials and temptations, we are in a place of exposure and vulnerability. It’s a time the enemy loves to throw arrows of lies. We need to be discerning and alert to his purpose. His schemes are to distract, trip, steal, and destroy. He longs to get us to doubt God in a way that leads to unbelief. (Psalm 106 is a great summary of why an entire generation of people died in the desert and didn’t make it to the Promised Land.)
But we can rest in His promises while we’re in the desert. I recall the five statements of faith from Believing God by Beth Moore:
- God is who He says He is.
- God can do what He says He can do.
- I am who God says I am.
- I can do all things through Christ.
- God’s Word is alive and active in me.
When worry sneaks in during a long wait, we can fight back. We are not helpless. Empowered women wear the armor of God. We can stand behind our shield of faith which extinguishes all the flaming arrows thrown by our enemy. We fight back with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Memorizing Scripture sustains us as we trek through our trials and temptations. Whether a lie comes out of nowhere or circumstances trigger the familiar groove of worry or shame, we are in a posture of readiness and can refute the lies with the truth.
No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me, declares the Lord. (Is 54:17 NIV)
And we can flourish and grow, even in the desert.