When you’re on the far side of the desert

Categorized as Rhonda's Posts

“Why can’t I ‘get’ this thing?” And here, I name it. But there’s more: “I’m lonely; isolated. You know I’m a people person, and for the last few years, I’ve had so little–” I stop.

Aha. There’s something there. A sore that’s been uncovered in the telling of it out loud.

“Wilderness season.” I know that Voice. And like that, it comes. A picture. It’s a desert, all barren and dry. Sand as far as the eye can see, and a fellow in a dusty robe.

I know that man. It’s Moses, herding his father-in-law’s sheep. Forty years. Flocks of sheep. Anonymity, isolation, herding sheep on the far side of the desert.

Now I want to know. Moses, I’d like to say, what was it like, all those long, hot years? How did you do it? Get up every day and go out one more time? How?

Turning to Exodus, I lift the mug and begin to read. And it’s all there. The stillness. The boredom. The utter monotony. Loneliness, isolation and mind-dulling sameness of sand that didn’t quit and sheep that didn’t, either.

But then. Oh, the glorious “but then.” For one day–yes, out there on the far side of the desert–came these: a bush that flamed up, Voice speaking and a calling delivered. Shoes off, signs and wonders and holy ground. There, on the desert’s far side.

I think of her words, “Embrace this season of death.” That’s what she’d told me, this mentor of mine, then said it again when she called the other day. “Embrace it, for it brings change.”

I’m thinking of my own desert days. The weeks and months and years of isolation. Of loneliness. Of being confined within four high walls.

Boredom. Monotony. Mind-dulling sameness. No actual sand beneath my feet, but reports that don’t quit and years in a chair.

Wilderness seasons, bringing death. A needed embracing. The change, sure to come, and the calling.

“But then.” One day, it shall happen. There, on the far side of the desert on an ordinary day in the monotonous middle shall come a fire; a bush. A Voice I know speaking, and a calling delivered.

Once more, I say “yes.” “Yes” to the dying, to the desert, to the barren. “Yes” to the pruning, the boredom and isolation. “Yes,” in essence, to life. To change. To the great “what comes next.”

Now, you? Perhaps you, too, need to hear it? Need to embrace your season of death, your wilderness days? Maybe you need to know that it’s only a season, that a calling awaits and it’s all preparation for the great “what comes next” once the desert’s behind.

How kind of Him to do it. To break us each down and rebuild us again. To purify and strengthen, prepare and make ready for the work that He wants us to do.

Yes! Oh, yes.

The Father has a lovely way of confirming His word. When I popped in at my husband’s office before heading home, I told him about the truth God had shown me. He pointed to his desktop calendar. Where I read this: “God desires a unique destiny for your life, not a run-of-the-mill destination. There’s no way to know where He intends to lead you, but there’s only one way to get there:  Follow where He leads, and leave the rest to Him.” – John Maxwell

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