Thankfulness in the Desert

August 17, 2009

Initially, this season of being at home before heading to Ethiopia was a hard thing for me to get used to.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, and I am blessed to be able to spend this time with them before I leave.  But, it is not the community nor the life that I have been used to for the past 3 years.  There have been some times of loneliness, and it has been a bit of a “desert” if you will.

After about a week of figuring out that my times of loneliness could be turned into times of solitude with the Lord, I was reminded of the Israelites during their time in the desert.  I started reading about how they were in the desert, and the Lord was leading them toward something bigger.  Each day He would provide manna for them to eat, yet they began to grumble and complain.  They wanted something different.  They wanted meat.  The Lord told them that He would give them meat, but because they rejected Him, He would give them so much meat that they would loathe it.  I thought, “Lord, I do not want to be like the Israelites by not being satisfied by You and how You are providing for me.  I want to recognize how you are providing for me each day.”  It has been amazing to see how He has provided in so many ways.  Something that I have been needing is community, and community is what He has been providing.  It may not look the way I think it should or what it has looked like in the past, but it has been there each day. 

Then, I read on about how the Lord told the Moses to send men to explore the Promised Land that He had for them.  They went, and came back in unbelief and fear.  Thinking they did not have the capability of taking over this land.  They began weeping and thinking the Lord had failed them because of their fears.  Because of their unbelief, they ended up staying in the desert (all but 2 of them died in the desert).  Again, I thought “I do not want to live in unbelief and fear.  I trust that the Lord is who He says He is, I am who He says I am, and He can do what He says He will do.  I will not be in this season forever.”

About a week later, I came across the passage about Jesus being led by the Spirit into the desert for 40 days where He was tempted by Satan.  I thought the timing of me reading it was interesting, considering my previous thoughts about being in the desert.  Then, I decided to look at my calendar….I will be at home for 42 days total before leaving for Ethiopia.  Crazy.  I also thought it was interesting that Jesus’ time in the desert occurred right before He began His ministry.  I prayed, “Lord, You are not asking me to do something that You have not already been through.  And, I believe that this is for a season and for a purpose.  I know You are drawing me near to You and calling me to rely on You for all things.  This is such good preparation for where You are taking me next.”

Through all of this, I have been challenged to keep my attitude in check.  I could dwell on the things that are hard, or I can respond to the Lord’s faithfulness with a thankful heart.  I am so thankful for how He has continually provided and taken care of me.  I am so thankful for this season He has me in.  He is teaching me so much, and really drawing me near to His heart.  I have been reminded of many who have gone before in hardships.  Specifically Job who said “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”  (Job 2:10), and Paul who said “…for Christ’s sake, I DELIGHT in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Cor 12:10).  May the Lord’s strength be displayed in my life.  He is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides!

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3 Responses to “Thankfulness in the Desert”

  1. michelle said

    amen! thanks jess i really needed those reminders. 🙂

  2. i love what he’s teaching you. such sweet relief for the spirit. you’re beautiful!

  3. Susan said

    I just found your blog!! Looking forward to reading about the great things God is going to do – in you- and in your midst.

    Praying for your safety as you tavel..
    Blessings!

    Susan 🙂

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