Desert Seasons | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
July 2015

Desert Seasons

By Dorothy Angeles

Desert – sometimes the word refers to a dry land; sometimes it refers to our current situation in life. This is the feeling of being dry, barren, desolated, unprofitable, unproductive, and fruitless -- that feeling when you did everything with all your strength but found no result. This is also a feeling of being unable to hear the voice of God – it’s a point in your life that even when you are reading the Bible and praying, yet you receive no response from God.

We experience this desert season in our lives whether we are aware of it or not and whether we like it or not. So how can we go through this season of our life and make it to the other side?

After being slaves for more than hundred years, God made plans for the Israelites to be delivered out of Egypt. As they successfully crossed the Red Sea, they proceeded into the desert. Like the Israelites, our desert season may come after our own period of slavery. It can be a slavery of sin, impatience, rudeness, materialism, poverty, modern technologies, failures and many more. As we feel uneasy and uncomfortable in the desert, there will be a possibility that we will think of the good things that slavery held for us. “When we were a slave of sin, were able to do all the things that we wanted – how comforting was that!” That is when we think that it is better to be a slave than to be free in the desert where we can’t find the comfort that we want.

When we are tempted to turn away from the desert and return to the things we thought brought us comfort, we must remember that God will make His way. God did this even when He heard the complaining of the Israelites who thought it was better to turn around and return to their former lives. As Exodus 13:17 says, “..they will change their minds and go back to Egypt.” (emphasis mine)

And what does God did to the complaining Israelites? He provided manna and water from the rock. God provided for them and He will also provide for you and for me. He will sustain us with manna – His grace, still today. We just have to receive and enjoy the ever-reliable, sufficient and amazing grace of God one day at a time. Then tomorrow, He will provide again; then the day after tomorrow and the next, until going back to slavery is no longer an option. When the time comes to complain again because of the same manna we are eating every day, God will not be hesitant to think of something new for us. He will surely make His way for us. As Isaiah 43:19 says, “..I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” God makes it possible for the desert to be more than a dry place, but place that leads us to trust in His grace.

Discussion Question: What have been some of the desert periods in your life? How has God guided you through those periods?

See more devotions from Dorothy and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself, at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.