Life has its ups and downs, and sometimes you find yourself in a desert place. Sometimes, you have to make difficult choices in life; other times, life makes difficult choices for you. The road that you were on (though it seemed as if it were going very well) does not always end up where you thought it would take you. There are trials and tribulations, and we rarely escape them unscathed. If you have walked down the road of life for any time, you have experienced desert places. You might be traveling through one now. Take heart; for, even though it may be a miserable time for you, there can be some amazing events that take place. When you pass through the desert place and move on to better pastures, it is often the events in the desert that makes you into the person that God wants you to be. Here are three benefits of being in a desert place.
Jesus is there.
Verse 13 says, “When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.” Notice that Jesus was already there, and the people followed him. During this time in the desert, are you following Christ? Do you not think that he knows the reason for you being out in the desert? He went out into the desert, and it is your responsibility to follow him. When I think about times in life when things are going well, I compare them to a city. A city is a place where you go to acquire things. The latest in clothing, fads, and gadgets can be found in cities. In fact, often times we get enamoured with all of the glamour and flashing lights of the city. We might have a desire to follow after Christ, but it can be difficult when there are so many distractions. No matter what, when you find yourself in the desert place, it makes it so much easier to keep your eyes on Christ. Remember that he is out in the desert with you. Savour this time that you get to spend learning of him. Enjoy the memories that are made of Him helping you along. Spend time in prayer with him. While there are so many less distractions, get to know him more while you are traveling through the desert place. Yes, desert places can be hard, but Jesus is there with you! Romans 8:35;39 says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Healing is there.
Verse 14 says, “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” Life tends to bring injuries. They come in all sorts and sizes. It may be a disease or injury caused by an accident or foolishness. Some injuries cannot be treated by medicine. A broken soul is a hard thing to mend. Whatever the case, healing is needed. Sometimes it cannot be found in any other place but the desert. When all distractions are gone and our focus is placed upon Christ, then we can have healing. Healing is enabled because that desert place gives us the space and time needed to reflect upon how the injury was obtained. It may cause us to take a clear inward look. Injures are not all the same, and the remedy is not going to be the same either. Healing may be found through repentance. We may realize as an individual that we may have strayed from God’s path for us because of our own pride and sinful way. When we repent of that, healing can begin. Sometimes we are hurt by others, and we must forgive that injury in order to begin to heal. Your situation may be different than those mentioned here. Whatever it is, Jesus has compassion and wants to heal you! Take the time that you spend in the desert and ask him to bring healing. Ask Him to show you how to get things right with God or man. The desert place has its own unique challenges, but you need to be whole in order to make it through it and go on for the Lord. Take the time to get well. Jesus want’s you to be whole. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Nourishment is there.
Verse 20 says, “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.” The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand was not next to an all you can eat buffet in the city. It was out in the desert. Nourishment is more than necessary in the desert place: it’s miraculous. The greatest amount of growth in my life has always been in the desert place. It is there that I have wholly depended upon the Lord to sustain me. For example, there have been times that I have come home and told my wife to feed just the kids because I am too full for supper. Now, my wife is an awesome cook! Her food is delicious! The problem was not my wife’s cooking; the problem was I was too full to eat: I had no appetite. Sometimes, it is that way in our lives. We are so full of the things in this world that we have no appetite for the things of God. Once we are removed from those distractions and our appetite is tuned to the things of God, we are then at a place to receive the things of God. Not only will he feed you, but he will fill you! Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
In life, the desert place is inevitable. Many heroes of the faith wandered in the desert (Abraham, Moses, David, etc.). Though at the time it may seem like it is a horrible place to be, look past your current circumstances and know that God has brought you there. You can find Jesus there; He will heal you and feed you. When your time in the desert is over, you will be a stronger person than when you went into the desert. I once heard two men talking about their job status. One remarked to the other who had lost his job, “You have lost all of your security.” His friend wisely replied, “Not all of my security is gone: I still have God.” That is usually why God brings us into the desert place: to help us find our security in nothing else but him.