Forty Years in the Desert

I have complained in the past when I felt God was allowing me to go through a desert spell because of my failures. The complaint I hear more often than any other is that some are frustrated because they are now in a desert place. It’s hard to be in that position. It’s frustrating. We wonder why God has left us there.

There is no better example in all of the Scriptures of someone who was put into a desert place because of his sin than Moses. He spent forty long years on the backside of the desert as a shepherd. This was a man who spent the previous forty years as a prince. It is so easy to teach about the life of Moses in retrospect. I can easily say that God was preparing Moses for the most amazing work of leadership in all of history. Yeah, that’s easy for me to say. But I wasn’t the one in the backside of the desert for forty years.

What a man Moses must have been. Most men would have deteriorated in their attitude. I probably would have gotten so mad that God would not have been able to use me. Most of us would have quit entirely. We would have griped and complained ourselves to uselessness. We would have posted our frustrations on Facebook for the whole world to see because we were stuck on the backside of the desert.

For most of us our “backside of the desert” is a few years, but Moses was there for forty years my friend. FORTY!!! Yet somehow he didn’t lose his faith.

Now to those of you who are in your “backside of the desert,” let me ask you a question. Are you going to be usable or are you going to be so bitter that the plan God had for you is going to be wasted? Tragically there are some who never make it out of that desert because they cannot trust God enough to believe that He still has a plan for them. Some are so angry that they are not being groomed for a work that God has for them to do.

Don’t look at someones life and say, “I wish I could be like them” You have no ideal how long that person has been on the back side of the dessert. You have no idea how many times they thought the desert season was finally over and suddenly they got thrown back out into the desert again. They didn’t just waltz into the spiritual life you see in them today. I could tell you grueling stories of what God allowed to bring people to where they are at this point in there spiritual life.

But nothing compares to Moses. I don’t think I could have done what Moses did. I barely made it to this point myself. It is hard for me to imagine how Moses stayed true to his faith after years of being banished to the “backside of that desert.”

Here’s my challenge to you. Stop griping. Stop complaining. Stop believing that you are are being picked on. Start understanding that you are in a place of preparation. God is getting you ready for something. How are you doing trusting God? Are you so busy bemoaning what you can’t do and where you wish you were in life, and what you don’t have in life, that God cannot prepare you for the wonderful things he has planned for you. Until you have spent forty years on the backside of the desert, maybe you should look at your place with gratitude instead of complaints.

Yes, your health is not what it should be. Yes you are alone in the desert. Yes your life feels like it is out of control. Yes, you have love ones that you miss. Stop feeding on your misery and begin to eat the manna and drinking of the fountain of living water that God has for you in the midst of your desert.

I know both how to be brought low, and I know how to abound: (everywhere, and in all things I am instructed) both to be full, and to be hungry; both to abound, and to suffer need. I can do all these things in him who strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:12)

Behold I do new things, and now they shall spring forth, verily you shall know them: I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. (Isaias/ Isaiah 43:19)

Frater Francis Dominic