Deepened by Deserts

“For I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:20

Deserts are neither for novices nor tourists. Deserts are for maturing saints.

A desert is a place—both geographically and spiritually—which is essentially barren. It is a region with very little or no rainfall. The vegetation, if any, is sparse and rarely does one see any species deserving of the name tree.

Deserts are usually uninhabited. Normal people don’t choose to live in deserts, unless of course, there is a ready supply of air conditioning by day and heat by night. Deserts can be tough—tough on bodies, tough on souls.

There were men, who came to be known as “Desert Fathers,” who in the fourth century chose geographically arid regions of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria to isolate themselves from the general population in order to concentrate completely on God. Normally, no Christian would choose a “dry place” as a place to stimulate spiritual fruitfulness. Nevertheless, God chooses to lead his thirsty-hearted saints periodically to travel into desert places—not to break them, but to make them.

Deserts are meant not for talking. Deserts are quite places, places intended for listening—listening to God.

Deserts are not made for harvests; harvests are for another season. Deserts are meant to destroy—destroy our dependencies on things, our toys, and our autonomous selves.

Deserts are one of God’s favorite and most effective instruments of mercy in producing in us his holiness and wholeness, his symmetry and beauty. The desert is intended to make us real, authentic, and genuine. The Holy Spirit burns intensely in the desert.

It was in a desert that Moses heard God’s call. John the Baptist was shaped in the desert. Deserts inevitably precede fruitfulness.

Don’t resist the deserts. Embrace them. In time, you will learn to bless God for them.

God cannot make saints without deserts. Don’t search for a substitute. There is none.

Taken from . . .
Renewed by the Spirit: 365 Daily Meditations
by Ralph I. Tilley
copyright © 2016 Ralph I. Tilley
(May be copied for noncommercial purposes,
not to exceed 500 copies.)

Author: Ralph I. Tilley

I joyfully identify with the long history of the orthodox, evangelical stream of the Church. Theologically, I am a conservative. On issues of secondary importance, I will not quibble with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I would hope I have no doctrinal biases; however, I realize that is a practical impossibility: “Now I know in part.” You can read more on the About page.