The Desert

Those of you that know me well know that I’ve been wandering in the desert for a while now. It seems like I’ve been walking in circles and wondering where exactly the trail out can be found. It hasn’t been a horrible experience, I’ve certainly had worse sojourns here, but it has been a time of internal solitude and a feeling of emotional isolation. There has been an eerie silence during my times of prayer. And I don’t find it coincidental that a definition of solitude is “a lonely place (as a desert)”.

All that to say that this morning I was reading in Psalms. And I ended up in Psalm 78. It’s basically a summary of all the times that God’s people turned from Him, or tested Him, or didn’t trust in Him, and how He responded. Amazingly, the majority of the time His response was mercy. In reading this, a very specific section spoke to me. And it isn’t a section about escaping the desert.

Here are these people in the desert, recently saved from their enemies, and God has actually made water flow from a rock to satisfy them. And here is their reaction:

19Then they spoke against God;
They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
20“Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out,
And streams were overflowing;
Can He give bread also?
Will He provide meat for His people?”
21Therefore the LORD heard and was full of wrath;
And a fire was kindled against Jacob
And anger also mounted against Israel,
22Because they did not believe in God
And did not trust in His salvation.
23Yet He commanded the clouds above
And opened the doors of heaven;
24He rained down manna upon them to eat
And gave them food from heaven.
25Man did eat the bread of angels;
He sent them food in abundance.

So what about this history text broke me this morning? The fact that God was leading these people through the desert in order to reach a better land, and they were nothing but selfish and ungrateful. God brought forth water from a rock and yet they demanded more. They tested Him and questioned His abilities and His love.

I don’t want to be like that. I’m going to trust that this desert is just a bridge to a better place. And more importantly, while I’m in this place, I’m going to spend some time being thankful for where I’ve been, where I am, where I’m going, and the water flowing from that rock. No bread or meat necessary.

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