Being Stuck In The Desert

(Letter to Helen)

I know you’re in despair. And that it appears you will always be in debt, always be unemployed and have never ending depression. This is a lie.

I am praying for you. The Lord uses this time to draw you to Him. You can yell at Him, cry at Him, talk to Him and ask Him all your hard questions.

You are in a war. It’s OK to be angry. It’s OK to be scared. But remember that your circumstances are not your reality. Jesus is bigger than your circumstances. And He can change them in a heartbeat.

Praising Him, Gratitude And Prayer Journals
Now is the time to exercise your faith muscle. Don’t forget to praise Him and show real gratitude each day. Take walks with Jesus, spend time with Him in the morning or whenever you have the most energy. Reflect back how He’s helped you in the past. For you know He has.

It will take effort and practice to remember such, especially when times are hard for you. If you start a daily prayer journal listing prayers and praises and how He came through in the past, you’ll be amazed at how much He’s been with you all the time, loving you all the time. This is how to fight when the devil gives you spiritual amnesia.

I know that when I’m down, my prayer journal reminds me He’s still with me.  My feelings of the moment are not reality. Jesus is.

Jesus The Good Parent
Jesus is working in you the same way as a good parent does with the child they love. How many times have you deliberately allowed your son David to go through uncomfortable times so he would grow? 

You could have rescued him. But you didn’t because you knew that he needed these experiences, even if they were unpleasant ones. David learning and David growing was far more important than David getting all his immediate wants and desires.

And often, his wants and desires were not always good ones. But as a good parent, you tried to give him some of those extra things too. Because you love him and know he needs hope and would otherwise despair and give up. 

But you had to balance it all with what was best for David. Not with what’s easiest or most comfortable for him. David’s long term well being was more important to you than his instant happiness.

And so God is the same with us. The Lord can get you a job in seconds.  Seconds Helen! When He doesn’t it’s because He’s got better things planned. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy or comfortable.

13 Months Of Debt Without A Job-My Own Time In The Desert
You know He got me my last job in three days. But before that, He held back for thirteen months!!!

During those 13 months I struggled with why God had abandoned me. Often I cried out in anguish. Often I was angry. Often I was in despair.
In my chest was always a deep hurt;  a tangible ache that never went away.

Several times a week, I would leave my car and yell, “EVERYONE SEEMS TO HAVE A JOB BUT ME LORD!  WHY WON’T YOU GIVE ME AN FN JOB!!!!!”  “I know you can. Why not me?”

During that time, the scariest thing I ever did, was for three days I walked away from Him. And suddenly I felt cold and dead. I came back, not because I loved Him, but because I saw it was killing me. I felt the numbness and the deadness because I had shut myself off from the Way, The Truth and the Life. Jesus took me back. But for a whole week afterwards, I felt absolutely dead inside.

Don’t do what I did Helen. If you’ve cut off talking with Him, or decided to stop asking Him for certain things because you don’t want to be disappointed, or stopped giving all you got to Him; repent and come back. He will embrace you.

Keep asking. But be ready to listen as well. And act on what He tells you to do, no matter how small or insignificant it seems to you.

Why The Lord Put Me In The Desert For So Long

Years later I saw a lot why the Lord put me through these 13 months of agony. It was to give me compassion for others. It was to remind me that at all times, no matter how successful I am, the Lord is my deliverer.

Regardless what my fears are, or what my boss or friends say, I need to take my marching orders from Him and Him alone. The God who has my back and provides for me at all times, is more important to listen to than my own wants, my own fears or the demands of others.

The Lord gives and He takes. It took this ordeal to show me I need to listen to Him because He knows what He’s doing. Time and time again He shows me He’s for me, not against me. And He’s for you too Helen. Even when it doesn’t feel like it.

And like a good parent, He knows what’s best for us. To be upfront, the faster I learn what He’s showing me, the faster I hope He’ll bring me out of the desert where He put me.

I now trust Him more than success. But without the hardship, I would be more fearful and more dependent on pleasing others than pleasing God. It is because of this desert experience that I can now handle success.

And you are in good company. For the Lord disciplines the ones He loves. The greatest leaders (Moses, King David and Jesus) all had their desert experiences. Literally and figuratively.

Polishing Us and Smoothing Us Out Like A Precious Gem Stone
Sometimes, the Lord  puts us in unpleasant places because like a gemstone being polished, we also need polish. A ruby in the rough is immensely valuable. But to be all that it can be, more has to be done to it. And the polish takes time. With people, we polish best under hardship and even pain.

In my case, there was no specific lesson I could force myself to learn. Nothing I could suddenly master and say “Hey Lord, I got this down pat so please move me on to success!” But I needed to be sanded and refined none the less. I could not will myself to be more compassionate. On my own, I could not change myself to depend more on God and less on people.

Jesus had to use the circumstances of my joblessness and other things to polish me and refine me. And though all this, I learned to have joy in Him, even though I was not getting much of what I wanted in life.

OK Graham, So Where Do I Go From Here?

Making Time With The Lord A Habit

Helen , You have real work to do.  But it’s not what you think! It’s not about willing yourself to be better. The real work is using this time to press into the Lord like you never have before.

Make a habit of seeking Him daily.  If you daily brush your teeth and daily take a shower and daily do other routines, make seeking the Lord a daily routine. Set out some time, even if it’s just 10 minutes day.

Daily, ask Him “Lord, what do I need to learn from this?” “How are you using this to work out your plan in me?” Is there some little step I should be doing differently in how I relate to you, relate to myself or relate to others?”

“And no matter how long it takes Lord, please show me how I can delight in You and love others in meaningful ways as you and I walk though this.”

Practicing Psalm 34:7 (Delighting In The Lord)

Find out how to delight in him.  Look for tips and suggestions on this from the Internet. Pray with others in how you all can delight in the Lord. Treat it as seriously as you do your job hunt.

Because the Lord can get you a job in an instant! He is your real savior. Not your job or your circumstances. Use this time to take charge in actively seeking Him and delighting in Him. He will honor you for it.

 Be Steadfast In Your Faith, Even When You Don’t Feel It

Whatever you do Helen. Press into Jesus. Don’t walk away. Much of your life, you’ve resorted to certain ways of coping that are destructive. The Lord Loves you. (1 Corinthians 15:58 and Hebrews 11:1)

He is not punishing you but refining you. And I know it hurts bad. However, stick close to Him and He will give you an amazing story to tell others.

A story not how you were left in the cold to die, but of how your amazing father is so creative, so powerful and so loving, that He and only He is the one to always depend on. Jesus is our rescuer and we can trust Him.

Lastly, show this email to a friend you trust and pray with her on this.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *