The desert is not a comfortable place physically, neither is it a pleasant place spiritually or creatively. I have been in all three and more than likely you have too. At this very moment I am experiencing one of the driest, hottest, most uncomfortable desert experiences of my entire life creatively. Being totally honest, I am struggling. Last weekend I dedicated an entire day to prayer, writing, and designing. It was quiet, I was alone, and I was ready. I wrote a couple of devotional entries and spent sweet time in God’s word. I felt spiritually ready and excited to have this day to get some things accomplished. And then it happened…absolutely nothing. I have been praying for a new Christmas painting for 2 years and I just knew this would be the day. Nope. I laid out three different designs and…. the answer was No! OK, maybe I just needed some inspiration. I looked through dozens of photos I have taken over the years. Nothing. “Holy Spirit”, I prayed, “I desperately need to feel the gentle breeze of your presence. I know You are here.” He answered my prayer. I felt the Spirit moving deep in my soul and I am thankful…but still no creative ideas came.
I don’t like dwelling in the desert places. I don’t like feeling parched. I don’t like feeling weak and struggling to move forward. I like wading in the flowing springs. I love feeling the cleansing rain and splashing in abundant grace. I love when my creativity flows freely and God holds my thoughts, my pen, and my brush. My happy place is in the fertile fields of God’s love.
I will tell you that I have been panting almost uncontrollably the past few weeks like a dog left outside on a hot Texas summer afternoon. My thirst is so great and I feel terribly weak and dehydrated. But I am realizing that the desert time is, in itself, a special time. Being hot and thirsty is not a bad thing when you know how to find the water source.
I know with certainty that when my desert journey ends, and it will end, I will appreciate the rains of grace and mercy more than ever before. Right now I have a job to do and that is to drink fully and deeply of the Living Water. The rain does not always just come. Sometimes is takes word and dedication and this is one of those times. It’s time for me to hold up my end of the agreement and to seek the Lord.
Sometimes I guess this desert experience can happen without any prompting. But, since I am being totally open with all of you, this experience is of my own doing. For three years I had been consistently drawing toward God and concentrating on my walk with Him. I had been praying fervently and constantly. I had been reading and meditating on God’s word. I had been studying and writing and digging deeper than ever before on my spiritual journey.
The key words in the previous paragraph are “had been”. The past two months I have allowed other priorities to sneak in and take time away from my time with God. There have been no catastrophes, no serious illnesses, no major life changes, just a lack of planning, dedication, and focus. Let me tell you what I am realizing. I don’t want to stay in this desert and I certainly don’t want to go back on this route any time soon; at least not because of my own inconsistencies in my walk with Christ.
I really don’t even know the words to pray at this point. I am relying on the Holy Spirit to take my jumble of thoughts and feelings and sort them out to God. I do know this, I am going to claim peace in this desert season. I am going to rest in His promises. I am going to do what I can do; what I know I am supposed to do; by getting out my Bible and getting on my knees.
As I look forward to the day when the fountains once again flow freely through my soul I will claim God’s promises to never leave me and to love me unconditionally. I will look to my Savior who is my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer, and the Anchor for my Soul. I will once again drink fully of the Living Water and will open my arms to the cleansing rain of His presence. I will run with abandon into the arms of the One who loves me and will trust Him to provide in due time the desires of my heart.
If you are in a desert experience in your life at this time, I challenge you to do the same. Let me know how I can pray for you. After all, we are in this thing we call “life” together aren’t we?
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:1-5 NIV
“You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the LORD, have created it. Isaiah 45:8 NIV
Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3 ESV
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground. Isaiah 44:3 ESV
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:16-17 ESV
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6 ESV
But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14