What I Learned In The Desert—1

desertIn late 2013 and into early 2014, I went through a desert of sorts, and it was one of the most trying periods of my life.

I couldn’t write; it’s hard to think of art when you are gasping for air.

I don’t want to sound too dramatic. I wasn’t facing martyrdom or starvation. These were first world problems, although they were very real to me.

These problems were a combination of health problems, personnel problems at work, a heavy workload, and things outside my control going wrong on a daily basis.  All this put me in a position of feeling completely overwhelmed, like I didn’t have enough time to do what I need to do and an inability to get anything done to minimize the burden. I felt frustrated, helpless and, over time, exhausted.

At first I thought it was just a season to be endured. We live in a fallen world; sometimes difficult things happen and it’s not God; it’s not the devil;  it’s just life. But after this perfect storm of adversity swirled over my life for months, I realized it was not something I could simply wait out. So I began asking the Lord for wisdom on how to deal with the trials I was facing on a daily basis.

I prayed about what I needed to do differently to enable me to get more done and to get out from under the overwhelming burden of having more to do than time to do it. I also prayed about what I needed to change in the way I was responding to the negative circumstances I continued to face and which continually led to a dead end of fear and anxiety. Lastly, I needed to know how to respond to God in midst of circumstances that were overwhelmingly negative and destined to remain that way for an extended period of time.

Weeks of prayer were met with silence. Every morning I would pray for guidance and wisdom, and every time I would hear absolutely nothing. To steal a well-worn oxymoron, the silence was deafening. Then one day I heard clearly as a whisper in my ear. A month later a principle  from a Bible study I was preparing for my church’s small groups resonated in me, and lastly a scripture I had read many times became suddenly real to me.

It was these three things I carried out of the desert, parting gifts from Holy Spirit. I thought of writing of them at the time, but I could tell the season was not over, and to write from the desert seemed premature and presumptuous.

Now that it’s clear to me I’m out of that desert I want to share the three things I learned, which I will do in the next post, in the hope that what I learned was not just for me but for others as well. GS

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