As Christians, it is hard to not go through life without hearing someone or even ourselves say, “I am in a desert season.” So many people believe that a time in the desert means that God is far away or that our destinies are far from our reach. I think that sometimes we forget that what seems like a time of difficulty is actually an invitation to lean in closer to our Father, a time to find refuge under the shadow of His wing.
Sometimes these seasons are not so much desert seasons as it is a time where our sin or disobedience has kept us from aligning with the will of God in our lives. Even though I find this to be true, the “desert season” that I am addressing is the one in which you are doing everything that He asked of you. You are in close relationship with Him, and you have moved at the beat of His own heart. I can say that I have walked through that desert season in my own life, and I can still see it so clearly.
The Lord had some friends and me start a ministry. There was a time in which we were running full force in our ministry and seeing the Lord move miraculously through us. We were experiencing the presence of God in a tangible way. There wasn’t a time where we would enter into worship that we didn’t have an Isaiah 6:1 moment: “I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple” (NIV). We were hungry and were risking for the Lord in every area of our lives. We were building a family with one another, and the book of Acts was being played out through our lives. It was one of the most beautiful seasons of my life.
Then came the shift. The enemy seemed to be taking ground against us. The division began to take place, and people became more focused on the problems of the world instead of the joy set before them. The family that we had built in our ministry started to look a lot more like the broken system of marriage and family that the world seems to expect. The grief of this division started to push me, as a leader, into what seemed like a desert season. It was like I had walked out of Eden into a desert with wolves that gnashed their teeth at me every move I made. It seemed like the wind would blow, and instead of feeling the Holy Spirit, I would just end up with sand in my eyes and a broken spirit.
Staying laser-focused on the truth of my destiny became harder, but I had to make a choice of looking at the lie of defeat or believing in God’s promise of a prosperous future (Jer. 29:11). I had a promise of a family in the body of Christ, and most importantly, I had Jesus. I started to look at the scenery of this desert season, and I saw it as a land of opportunity. I began to make it my mission to find God in every situation.
Because I started to shift my focus to the promises of God, I became overjoyed that this desert was full of sand. What if in our desert seasons we shifted our perspective? What if we chose to bend down and take the sand in our hands and remember that the thoughts our Father has for us are innumerable? It says in Psalm 139:17-18:
Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O God, your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore! When I awake each morning, you’re still with me (TPT).
Every season is an opportunity to stare at our loving Father in the face and see His love and everlasting delightful thoughts about us. His love surpasses our understanding, and that love is unchanging. Staying focused on who He is versus the season that we are walking in is how we are able to walk through the fire and come out not even smelling of the smoke of that season.
If we just shift our thinking, no season is unbearable. I walk through the fire but come out refined like the purest of golds. I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but He is with me. I walk through the desert, but I then get to experience His innumerable thoughts of me that are full of favor and love. Let us walk in such an understanding of His Grace that no season rules over us but, instead, gives away to those around us the hope of glory that is Christ Jesus.
Written by Jenimar Pendleton
Featured Image by Ian Dooley