Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Like a Red Rag to a Bull (11/28/13)
TITLE: Deserts of Life
By Jodi Gardner
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If you ever spend time in the "deserts of life" (periods of chaos or questioning your life's purpose), a ray of hope or panic may spur the urge to fervently charge forward. Deserts often come after a significant loss, major life change, prolonged crisis, chronic illness, or depletion of emotional resources. We feel as if we are frantically darting around a bullpen under the blazing sun only to be pulled up short by the barriers of life. Tears, anger, anxiety, and helplessness become our constant companions.
We scream out to God for help. Two things occur during the deserts: 1) we shift our focus from God to the barriers around us, and 2) with any glimmer of escape, we rush head first. Usually, we charge towards our own desires and desperate survival attempts.
The Bible describes Godly men and women, who may have felt similarly. For instance, Elijah escaped a mass murder of prophets and ran to the desert to die. The Lord told him to proceed into the barren region; which, he did for 40 days until he came to a cave. There, God spoke to him in a calm still voice. Imagine losing all your friends, questioning God's will for your life, walking for days in the blistering sun, and not knowing where you are going. Elijah thankfully also models how to listen to God during trials. (1 Kings 19)
So, how do we escape the desert? We find a safe place to rest in God's hands. We quiet ourselves to allow Him to speak to us; remembering, He often uses a soft still voice rather than an earth quaking expression. We reach out our hands to Him to pull us up rather than attempt to climb Him like a man drowning at sea. Then we wait. Oh, the dreaded wait.
When we frantically charge forward, we generally do so by our own authority rather than permitting God to cool the beating sun. The hardest accomplishment for many of us is surrendering control to God. Hopefully, we learn from past experiences to submit to God's timing and methods; but, sometimes we forget old lessons.
When you find yourself crashing against the sun drenched bullpen, simply stop. Stop running, panicking, charging after perceived enemies, or grasping for any ray of hope. Start breathing deeply, opening your hands and lives to God's quiet voice, praising His glorious name, communing with fellow believers, spending time in the Word of God, and walking at a meditative pace. God will direct our foot steps when we are not tripping over our own feet.
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