Moses leaned back against the date palm tree where he sat in the shade on the backside of the desert. He spat a sunflower shell from the batch he was eating and scowled as he reflected on his life.
Nearby, a bony billy goat pulled at a lump of scrawny grass as the blazing sun dropped lower on the horizon. Since Moses had no one else to talk to the goat doubled as his psychiatrist.
“People! You goats don’t know anything about orneriness. We’ve developed it to an art.” His scowl deepened as he repeated his story for the thousandth time to the uninterested goat.
“I was trying to help those ungrateful people. Couldn’t they see that? I was willing to give up everything to help them and look what it got me! I traded a palace for the backside of the desert with a band of flea-bitten sheep and goats.”
“Baaaa!” (Careful Moses. Even goats have feelings. I guess.)
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a bush start to smoke. “A smoking bush?”
Honestly, I doubt that it happened exactly like that to Moses, but from the response you gave to my question about possible Coffee Stains topics, it’s easy to see some of you are on the back side of the desert in areas of your life.
The next two weeks we’re going to talk about deserts—these trials which leave us looking heavenward and saying, “Hum, Lord … what’s up? This is kind of tough. This is your beloved child down here. Remember?”
If you suffer and see a reason for it you can fight through. Soldiers and athletes do it every day. But if you’re just suffering, that’s another story. And are all trials God’s idea or are some just the devil trying to bring you down?
I hear some preachers talking about trials and it’s like, “Bring them on. They’re good for you.” I know there’s some truth there but I want to respond, “If you like trials so much I’ve got a few that I’ll loan you. You can even keep them if you want.”
We try to make sense out of our lives and some things that happen seem to have no sense. That leads to questions. Unbelievers conclude that God, if He exists, doesn’t get involved, so things just happen and you can’t count on Him.
Those of us who believe He is a powerful, compassionate God who loves us with every fiber of His being have a hard time reconciling hard times with our Heavenly Father. The unspoken question that bubbles up from deep within us is, “If God loves me and He can do something about this, why doesn’t He?”
And God’s Word also tells us to rejoice in trials! How can you rejoice when you’re in a trial?
“And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings … (Romans 5:2, 3 NIV)
Why? Was Paul a masochist?
No, listen to the rest of his sentence. “…because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
When you see this is going somewhere, you can make it. You might not see where it’s ending yet, but you trust that the Savior, who promised never to leave you, never has left you.
You’ve got to have faith in the Lord in your desert.
So, “Moses” my friend, before we go any further, stop right now and ask where this might be going! Ask, “Is there anything developing in me?”
If the answer to this second question is, “No!” you may be pouting, or angry, or frustrated or jealous, or … Been there, done that. But, if you don’t mix in simple trust in the Lord during your desert time you may well miss what God is trying to do in you.
Think now: this tough time, might it be going somewhere or doing something in me? Just maybe?
Recommended for you: Ravenous
“You know how it is when you go to the restaurant and you aren’t really hungry?
You look at the menu and mutter, “Let’s see now … ‘rib-eye steak.’ Nah, doesn’t sound good. ‘Lasagna?’ Nope, not in the mood. ‘Enchiladas?’ (This place has a varied menu). No, my stomach couldn’t handle the hot stuff today. ‘Hamburgers?’ Too fattening.”
The waitress taps her foot, pencil poised to scribble your order as you peruse fifty possibilities. Nothing sounds good. “They just don’t have much choice in this place,” you grumble.” https://davidscoffeestains.com/2006/09/23/ravenous Scroll to the bottom of the page to hear my friend Keith Sorbo read it to you.
“Ingratitude is not just a sin of the poor, but of those who possess much. I overheard a child complaining about the iPod he was getting for Christmas and was reminded of the Christmas I spent recently in West Africa. We are rich in comparison. I saw children who have nothing and will never have anything, who awaken every morning with nothing, and are likely to be thankful for a few scraps of food that day. Our children awaken every morning in beautiful home, put on clothes and sneakers that cost more than these people will ever see. “The horseleech is never satisfied.” (Prov. 30:15) Their ingratitude is a curse, they demand more and more blood … their lust is a bottomless pit.” Jerry D. Hobbs