Ever have a season stretch on for what seems like forever? I have. Whether you’re dealing with infertility, a hard-to-discipline child, an unfulfilling job, mixed feelings about an estrangement, a rocky marriage, chronic pain, illness, or any other specific season that feels like the desert I aim to encourage you today.
In fact, I’m kinda wondering if that’s why my computer crashed yesterday. The 8 seeds of encouragement I’m about to share are full of hope, courage, and motivation. And not everyone wants you to feel encouraged.
But I do. And I was at church on Sunday. So I’m going to share my own take on what our pastor shared with us. We’re working through Exodus. You know, Moses, the mumble grumbles, and the manna. Ultimately, the question seeping out of that book in the Bible is this: Are you going to trust God, turn to Him with faith, and follow His instruction. (Spoiler alert…if not, He loves you anyway.)
8 Seeds of Encouragement for Fellow Desert Dwellers:
God Is Humbling You
Deuteronomy 8:3 states “God humbled you and let you hunger.” Now I bet you’re thinking where’s the encouragement in that. The Bible is saturated with verses detailing how God humbles those he loves. He blesses the humble, lifts them up. It was the humble Jesus hung around most.
You Have an Owner’s Manual
Sometimes I don’t feel like reading the Bible. Sometimes I don’t feel like exercising or eating veggies either, but I can honestly say I’ve never regretted doing any of the above. They’ve nourished me. God’s word is living and active. It bleeds into us, our outlook on life, our perception more than we could ever know.
You Are Not Alone
This is the greatest and most convincing lie we all believe at one time or another. It’s seductive. But it’s false. Yes, no one will ever know exactly what it’s like to walk in our sand-caked sandals, but Jesus promises that He will not leave us nor forsake us. And He’s pretty cool about connecting us with others who’ve gone through similar circumstances. But we need to keep our hearts and eyes open.
God provided food for the desert dwellers in Exodus. Every morning. Fresh food. Sustenance. What they needed. He does the same for us. Most of the time all is takes is for us to shift our focus, to look down at our hands and feet in grateful recognition of all He’s provided.
Can You Handle It? Why Yes, You Can
We’re told He won’t give us anything beyond what we can handle. I’ve been known to ask God to throw me a bone. There are times I feel borderline crushed. I’ve grown from every single one of those times. And I never got the bone, but maybe a phone call or a hearty laugh or something small but significant to help get me through.
Time in the desert can do wonders to teach us how much we complain. Moses had to hear his people repeatedly grumble up a storm. If we pay attention, we’re able to detect how mumbly-grumbly we’ve gotten. Then we can DO something about it.
A test, it’s only a test. Looking at a trying circumstance this way can alleviate the disparity and hopelessness of it all. It gives instant perspective.
Ability to Distinguish Wants from Needs
I’m a crazy shopper. I’ll often whisper this question under my breath (but still out loud so other shoppers give me that “she’s batty” look). Talking to anyone? “Do I want this or need it?”
Here is one more gift that comes from desert time. We’re able to become clear about what we need in life versus what we want.
So whether it’s been 40 minutes, 40 days, or 40 years you’ve been wandering in the desert, be encouraged. Refiner’s fire. You’ll come out of this. You’ll shine.
And just like in a marathon, I’ll be waiting to encourage you on until the end. Oh Manna!
*photo by stock.XCHNG