Desert Patches

Erica Hamilton
When I was asked to write a post for CATALYST, I decided to sit down and flip through some of my old journals to see if anything of value stood out. I ended up going through about three years' worth and I noticed something embarrassing. In different passages, in different seasons, God has been trying to reveal some truths to me. As in the Same. Exact. Things...over and over again. My journals are full of bellyaching and anguish while walking through some things and then followed by some AHA moments. Then time passes and there is more anguish and more hard and the same AHAs as before. The problem is, I haven’t been able to shake the shame and guilt cycle. It’s like I completely go brain dead and forget what God has revealed and fall back into the same tired patterns. When I noticed a few common themes in the past few years God nudged my heart and reminded me about things I had written much longer ago.

Eight years ago I penned a post entitled ‘Gardening with God’ and wrote, “Even as a stay-at-home, work-from-home, homeschooling Momma committed 100% to my children and family and the role God has for me in these places I let my most prized flowers, { my relationship with God, my husband, and my precious children } get neglected and choked out by the thorns in dire need of watering, fertilizing and space to grow and bloom.” In the last three years do you have any idea how many journals I penned that included the same basic premise? To cut out the junk that doesn’t matter and focus on what does. No less than ten times. I assure you if I dived deeper into the other years there would be more of the same.

I also noticed other lessons God has been repeatedly trying to beat into my brain. Like, to fix my thought life by listening to God’s voice over the rotten accuser who wants me to live defeated, mired down in shame and guilt. God has repeatedly told me to do the hard things for HIS Glory no matter how hard or yucky. Let’s not even discuss how many times he has told me I need to stop being so selfish, to die to myself, so His new growth can sprout and flourish.

Maybe you can identify. Maybe your life feels full of lots of hang-ups and bang-ups that have led to hurts. Maybe you’re stuck hearing the same thing from God over and over but never harnessing His power or His truth. Turns out we aren’t the first to live this way. The Israelites went through it too. They went from slavery, through plagues, through a desert where they got stuck in a holding pattern full of grumbling and complaining despite God’s provision.

The thing is, God didn’t intend for them to stay in the wilderness. Deuteronomy 6:23 says, ‘He brought us out from there (Egypt) in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to give our Fathers.’ God brought the Israelites out of Egypt to take them to the promised land.
The desert places,
the wilderness where they found themselves,
was not the destination.

It was the route.

A means to an end.

If you feel stuck in a barren and dry wasteland it is time to learn your lessons and move on. What is God trying to tell you in this place? Do the hard work and keep it moving. Don’t get stuck.

Let’s stop our complaining, our whining, and our bellyaching. Dry or desert patches are for learning to rely on God. Refining fires meant to burn away the yuck and purify us. They are passageways, not for permanent living.

The Israelites that had lived in bondage in Egypt were not able to enter into God’s rest, the promised land, because of unbelief and an unwillingness to trust in God.

The message they heard did not benefit them because it was not united with faith in God.

God’s Word, to do any good, must be met with faith.

Faith that what He speaks is true and worth building your actual real-life life on.

Believe and trust God.

If you’re not ready to listen and obey what God has for you, you can be tied up wandering desert ground chasing meaningless and worthless detours.

I have God, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, living in me and yet I have been circling a dry and barren wasteland. God is calling me out, to his Promises. Join me. No more desert wandering.

We were made for more.

1 Comment

Kim Brand - May 12th, 2021 at 2:07pm

So so good...water for a thirsty soul...thank you for this Erica Hamilton!