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July 15, 2009

12

Getting through a spiritual desert

by Dave Malnes

When Jesus tells us to pick up the cross and follow me — you never know where that might take you.

For many of us, this journey is rarely filled with spiritual highs and mountaintop experiences.  It is a journey — much like dragging a cross through the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem.  It is bumpy, long and filled with great exertion.    Yet, there is a purpose involved.  There is a peace that goes beyond understanding.  As the Apostle Paul states, we all must be crucified of the world spiritually in order to find freedom and rest.

This means that living the Christian life is not easy and we can expect difficulty.  There are days where we just want to give in and give up.

What does it mean to take up the cross?

It means reading the Bible and getting nothing out of it.  It means going to church and listening carefully but hearing nothing.  It means thirsting both spiritually physically while you seem to be trekking through a desert with nothing in sight.

Yet, we move on on step at a time.

If you are feeling dry.  If you are feeling no sense of communion with God.  Please wait patiently.  Don’t panic.  Keep walking in  faith, one step at a time, until you come to the end of your desert, even if it takes 40 years.

Our sinful nature is very impatient.  We want to seek and find the glory and bypass the way of the cross.  But, when you read the Apostle Paul, he had a much better understanding of the Christian journey.  He says, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to a attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:10).

We focus on knowing the power of His resurrection and what the Holy Spirit does provide, but we reject Paul’s warning that in order to fully receive that power it must coincide with His sufferings.  If there is no daily taking up of the cross, there is no daily resurrection and hence no daily power.  There is no other way.  This is what God ordained for Christ and this is what God has ordained for you.  God does not give us the option of enjoying only resurrection power without crucifixion weakness.

“… As Christians, the real victory we seek in this work is not for ourselves, but for the gospel.   Our greatest yearning should be for God’s kingdom to expand and for His will to be done on earth.  Often we must surrender ourselves to what the world views as defeat in order for the gospel to advance.”  (Skip Gray)

“Bitterness destroys more Christian workers than immorality.”                   Lorne Sanny

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jul 15 2009

    God does not give us the option of enjoying only resurrection power without crucifixion weakness.

    I like that.

    I posted on the subject a while back. It generated a lively discussion-nothing earth shattering, but interesting. If you’re interested.

    http://beautyofthebible.com/2009/06/22/thought-for-the-day-rethinking-the-cross/

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  2. Jul 22 2009

    It is a journey, you said it and like any other journey the unexpected can happen. Being in the desert can be hard, I should know, I have been there for a while. Great post.

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  3. Nancy
    Oct 2 2010

    …honestly, I’m very weary of this desert I have been in for so long… …rain?… what is that? …I’ve never seen it in my life…

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    • merganzerman
      Oct 7 2010

      Thanks, Nancy, for dropping by this blog. I agree. Deserts are no fun to be in — especially when you are low in enthusiasm, energy, even water. Lips become parched which makes it difficult to smile. Just this morning, I was reading the Bible and came across the word hope. How does hope play in the Christian faith? Well, we remember that Christians are saved by faith, not hope. However, hope accompanies salvation in that we can rest in its certainty. In other words, when times are really bad and we “groan inwardly” awaiting our time in heaven, we have hope to know that this is all temporary. Hang in there, Nancy. All in all, those drops of rain only comes to quench the thirst, but we wait until heaven until we never thirst again. It will be worth it.

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  4. hislillyanne
    May 6 2011

    I have experienced ‘the desert’ many times in my walk with Christ. I am currently going through another season of it. I am encouraged by Isa. 43:1b -7, where it says, ‘we will walk thru the fire…but we will NOT be burned, the flames will NOT set you ablaze’ because the pain of this, you DO feel like your going to burn up from the pressure, and the isolation and lack of consolation. But praise be to God when He says, but “since you are precious and honored in My sight and…because, I LOVE YOU, I will take people in exchange for your life. Yes! This is how real and passionate God’s love is for his children! Can you believe this? Do NOT be afraid…for I AM WITH YOU. I hear the Lord begging us…to believe Him and to believe He loves us, despite…our current cirmcumstances.
    It is an everpresent temptation to buckle under unto fear, but God says, “Stand strong! FOCUS ON MY FAITHFULNESS! If I do not keep my eyes on HIS POWER AND STRENGTH, then I will focus on my weakness and vunerability. But rather, I choose to TRUST IN GOD and am determined to see HIS WILL BE DONE even as I feel depressed, or sad or weak, despite those strong feelings…as Mergenzergen said, faith WILL save us! Be encouraged dear one…Jesus has not stopped loving you. He sees our sacrifices, He knows our sorrow, and through this ‘desert’, as we remain submitted to Him and our flesh crucified…He will be glorified.
    Love and peace to you in Jesus.

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    • merganzerman
      May 7 2011

      Thank you very much for coming by and sharing your comments on this post. Going through a spiritual desert is difficult. But that’s what the Lord did with the Apostle Paul before he began his ministry for sharing the message of the risen Christ.

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  5. heartpeace
    May 9 2011

    Thanks for this reminder…I do desire to share the message of our risen Lord and Savior more! Its a priviledge to do so ❤

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  6. thehungrydude
    Oct 17 2011

    thank you for this. it’s tough to digest when going through this desert at the moment. i feel so passion-less about everything in life. lost.

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    • merganzerman
      Nov 1 2011

      Hang in there my friend. There is living water that awaits when you are most parched. Understanding this is God’s design for you right now will allow you to go day by day, step by step. When refreshed, and you will be refreshed someday, you will thank God for allowing you to go through this.

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  7. Kevin
    Apr 11 2013

    I really needed to hear this word. It has ministered to my life in such a powerful way! Being in a desert is hard, especially when your young and want to serve the Lord with all your heart. I feel like God is not listen to me, I cant feel his presence as before, and seems like everything is just going wrong. It’s a horrible feeling but i know God is there. It’s something I have not experience and feels difficult. I know i am in victory and there’s a purpose why im going through this; at the end God will be glorifed.

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    • Dave Malnes
      Apr 13 2013

      Kevin. Thank you so much for your comments. If this post was meaningful — then God be glorified. Hang in there. Continue to walk when the shadows seem darkest. You are not alone.

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