Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart… (Dt 8:2).
I used to think that desert seasons were reserved for screw-ups and failures. In my own self-righteousness, I would think it was their poor decisions that got them there. Since I was so good at making decisions I didn’t find myself in the desert and I wrongfully prided myself in that.
But then I was thrust into the desert. The dark, painful, lonely desert where I wandered with God for quite some time as He did a deep inventory of my heart. I’ll be honest, there were many moments in the desert where I told myself that same story I had said about others. That I was here because of my failures and poor decisions. I had a hard time living with myself sometimes in the desert since I had always prided myself on being someone, who, in my eyes, always made good decisions.
But see, here’s the thing. The very thing God wanted to grow in me, I kept seeing as my problem in the desert, so I viewed that thing as one of my bad decisions. The problem is, this thing involved another person in my life. Which meant I saw this person as a bad decision.
I remember one day after church, listening to a message on shame and hearing the Lord tell me that I had carried deep shame in my heart because I saw this person as a bad decision. I knew I had to turn from that attitude, repent and ask God for a new heart and mind. Then, I turned towards that person, confessed my poor, sinful attitude of how I had seen them as a bad decision and asked for their forgiveness.
You see, desert seasons, I’m learning, are not for failures and screw-ups. They are made for champions. Once I change my mindset on this I was able to view the desert, not as a punishment against me, but as a crown for me to wear of God’s victory in my life. You see, the desert is for our refinement. It’s the place of testing where we are challenged to become more like Jesus, even when it hurts. It’s the place God takes us to rid us of pride, fear, insecurity and the like. It’s the place we are humbled and for that, we can be thankful.
God broke me in the desert and when I say broke me, I mean, shattered me into pieces. This was by all means, for my good. Truly, I came out as a different woman after walking through the desert with my Lord. It was there, in the desert that I learned how to live a transparent life. It was there in the desert that I was deeply humbled and it was there in the desert that I found grace for a broken sinner like me. The desert taught me that my true identity is found, not in what I do, but in being a child of God. Rejoice, dear friend, if you find yourself in the desert. It is the place God takes His champions so that they might come forth as new creations in Christ.
Lord, I am not a screw-up or a failure. I am your child and you delight in me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for walking with me in the desert. Help those now who are in their own desert season to walk forth as a champion in Christ, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.