Joy and deserts don’t go together do they? Deserts are dry, barren, hot, severe, hard and forbidding. How could you rejoice in that? Many times throughout Scripture, trials and struggles are represented by a desert. It is a place that is hard. However, many times God does His greatest work in the desert.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” -James 1:2-4
1) The Desert isn’t what it appears to be
Life is full of desert moments or seasons. i.e.: Sickness, singleness, no job, tough decisions, marriage problems, finances are low, depression, dreams are no more, heart ache. All of these come in and out of our lives. Many times, when we enter these desert seasons, we struggle with the question of why. Why am I in this? How can I, as a believer, rejoice in the desert season? Because the desert isn’t what it appears to be! As James writes to believers who are struggling in their faith, he tells them that the trials they are facing are more than they seem. God is actually using this time in their life to produce in them only what the desert can produce: maturity and completeness. James is encouraging believers to not look at the trial but to look through the trial.
2) The Lord can use you in the Desert
Many times when we enter the desert time, we feel paralyzed. We usually freeze up, draw away from fellowship and church. However, what I have learned is that God can use us in the midst of a desert season. Just think how impactful it would be to your family, co-workers, students, or friends to see you walk through trials with joy in knowing that God is still good and that He is working all things for the good. People would be amazed and would begin to wonder how you can be so positive and joyful in this time! Mostly because they are also dealing with life and deserts and are looking for something to give them hope. The desert time is great time to display the goodness of God and open doors to share the Gospel with people in your life. God wants to use you, even in the midst of the desert.
Since the trials that we face serve a greater purpose in completing us in Christ and because it is a great opportunity to be used by the Lord, we can rejoice in the desert. Not that the desert is easy or fun, but we can enter into these season of our life with great confidence in Christ! When we respond with joy, Christ is able to be glorified and exalted in the desert.
You may be in a desert season right now. I want to encourage you that God is using this season in your life to mold and shape you into the man or women He has created you to be in Christ. Don’t focus on the trial but look through it to see that God is doing something! Whether you can see it or not. Whether you can feel it or not. God is working all thing for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The Lord is using this to mature you and make you complete in Christ.