Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Finding Faith in the Desert Places

It takes more than a mustard seed of faith to move to the desert. Especially when one runs into disappointments along the way.

Picture this:

God has called you out of your comfort zone. What you've known all your life. Whether it's working as Pharaoh's slave or living on the lush East Coast. It's all you've ever known.

He's asking you to travel a road you've never crossed before, let alone driven along. Or walked. You're not sure what's on the other side. You're a little nervous, maybe anxious. Maybe you doubt. You ask yourself (and possibly God) if this is really the right path.

But He asks you to trust Him. To have faith. Even if it's only a mustard seed's worth.

So you set out upon this new journey. You're hesitant yet curious. You muster up all of the hope you can, because you believe God knows what He's doing. You wonder what the new place holds. What is God's plan? Will you find blessings you never dreamed of? Will you face trials and temptations? Because you've read the stories. You know Jesus was tempted in that desert wilderness. You know the Israelites spent all those years complaining in the desert place and never saw the Promised Land. Except Joshua and Caleb. Maybe you could be as courageous as them.

Disappointment number one hits. You must leave behind something you truly love. Why would God ask you to give someone or something away? Especially when they'll be 2,000 miles away? Trust Me. He whispers in that still-small voice you've come to know. And sometimes still question if it's Him or your head. He reminds you that everything belongs to Him. If He can take care of the birds of the air, He can take care of the boy and the animal that you love.

So you journey onward. Putting miles between you and your comfortable place. Adding nerves and sharp edges to your soul. You pray you don't lose your patience, your grace, your gentle and kind tongue. Because this trip is hard. It's difficult. And it's full of things not seen.

You arrive at your first stop. It's not where you planned to be. It's miles away. It's scary. It's unclean. You wonder if you and your life's possessions will be safe for the night. You feel the Egyptians gaining on you. But God. He lights a fire in the darkness. He reminds you of His presence at every turn. Even as you pull the blinds tight and secure every lock on the door. His perfect love casts the fear out of you, and you rest. Or try to.

A new day dawns, and you continue onward. This day holds anticipation and disappointment at the same time. There isn't enough time to do everything you wanted to do. Not enough time to meet two friends, only one. Disappointment in one missing handshake. Joy in the other. As your spirit conflicts within you, you take every opportunity for this to be a blessed experience. You celebrate friendship and a rest along the journey. 

The landscape changes. It goes from green and fruitful to brown and barren. Here a shrub. There a cactus. You wonder how life can be sustained in such a dry place. You wonder how one can survive in the furnace-like heat. And God reminds you of three men who refused to bow to the idols of their day. How He met them in that fiery furnace and preserved their lives. And increased their faith.

Suddenly you realize that those vast miles of reddened dirt are not mere plots of desert land. They're cotton fields. And cattle appear amidst the shrubbery. Wind mills harness energy and create power unseen by the naked eye. The land is rich with oil. The Holy Spirit whispers as you take it all in. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It's the evidence of things not seen. Although the crops are not growing yet, the seeds are planted and harvest time is coming. I will always provide; you will never see My children begging for bread. Just as the windmills gather the unseen wind and produce power for your electronics, My Spirit is at work in you. Producing oil worthy of the Bridegroom's return. Do not fret, My child. I know the thoughts that I have for you. Thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Because in the desert places faith increases.


  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome, Jennifer! Thanks for reading. :)

  2. Alycia, thank you. thank you for posting this. I feel like God is leading me in a direction that I have prayed to go for a long time but I am a little "concerned". I've wondered if it is Him or me being silly but conformation comes from words like leaving your comfort zone and trusting Him, knowing He will be there. Leaving behind the loved and thinking of all Abraham left when he followed that call are all thoughts running through my head. These steps don't make sense. What will everyone else think and say, yet the ones who matter most see it too and support me in ways I never believed they would.
    thank you. Thank you for posting this.
    Laura Menefee

    1. Hi Laura!

      I've been dwelling a lot on Abraham lately, too. One thing I've noticed is that every time God moved Abraham into a new land, He provided an increase. His gold, his silver, his land, his herds, his flocks. Even his family. God also reminds us in the New Testament that as we leave family behind for Him (or careers, or homes, etc.), He will restore those things to us hundredfold (see Mark 10:29-31). I pray God gives you clear direction as you seek His will for your life.


  3. Hey Alycia,

    Can't wait to see you again in May:) So looking forward to the conference. Well, I have also had to move far a place truly brown.....New Mexico. We moved out there about two weeks after we got married and the day I graduated from my masters. Paul wanted to go there to go to school and neither of us had a job. God is good, and it was neat how He provided us jobs and me a teaching job when jobs were scarce! I will tell you the full story later. We ended up coming back to Georgia at the end of the school year because it wasn't what he wanted.

    But HE will take care of you and your needs! We just need to be obedient when He tells us to go. Remember Romans 8:28:) Much love!! ~ Judy

    1. Hi Judy!

      New Mexico is exactly where we've landed. And it is very, very brown. I'll have a few photos to share tomorrow. :) I look forward to the day God releases us (or delivers us) to move back to the East Coast. Until then, I look forward to whatever it is He has in store for us here.

      Can't wait! May is just around the corner and rolling up fast!


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