There are a lot of things I want to talk about, but I feel myself called to continue telling you about my journey through the desert.
So many people out there are in the same position we found ourselves in. Just this morning I saw a post by someone on Facebook who said: “I need more than just prayers.” I know how you feel – I’ve been there. One day I was so despondent, I didn’t even want to know about reading my Bible. I seriously thought God had forgotten about me. And my husband came to me and said “We can’t give up now. We have to hold on.” In that moment I didn’t want to listen. I fought with God. I told Him that He was being unfair, that I felt as if He had left me. Do you know what I’m talking about? Have you been at that place in the desert? Are you sitting there now?
Isaiah 41:17 says “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.”
I want to tell you today that this is true, He does not leave you. Ever.
A verse that really strengthened me was 1 Corinthians 10:13 “Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” This verse means that God WILL test you. Yes, He will, just as He has tested me. But – and this is a BIG BUT – He will not test you beyond your endurance. Believe me, I thought that I could bear no more, but I did. I sat on my knees beside my bed and sobbed to God that I just cannot endure anymore. But somehow, somehow I came through it.
James 1:2-3 says 2 My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3 for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure.
Whaaat? I hear you say. Consider myself fortunate when I suffer? Yes, because you know what – next time something comes your way, you will be stronger and able to endure more. Because next time the trial might be something the enemy throws at you, for we “are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age.” Ephesians 6:12
And what is more, God promises that if you endure, if you push through, He will reward you. (James 1:12) And here I am! Proof that God does keep His promises, that He does reward one’s faith and endurance.
It is hard – very, very hard to endure in your faith. How many times I said “I give up, God.” And how many times did He somehow send me a reminder that He is faithful. Isaiah 40:31 But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.
I don’t know how to encourage you any more than telling you my story. This is the truth: I reached a point where all I COULD do was look at God. There was no other solution to the situation. A miracle was needed. At one point my husband received an amount of money in his bank account. The name of the payee? “Jesus loves you”, that was all. A family member also helped us with money. He and his wife had felt that God wanted them to help us. So you see, there is always something….something that God does. But then even that help stopped – I mean, one cannot expect another person to neglect their own families to help another. And this was the point where I said: “OK God, here it is now. There is no help from others anymore. We need a miracle from You.” God told me in Joshua 1:9 Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go. And that is when I had the desert “vision” (I still don’t know what to call it, really)
Now you have to understand that while this all was going on, the market where I sold my stuff got cancelled, with very little prospect of it re-opening. I couldn’t find another market close by – what with the price of petrol being so high, I needed to have a market close by so that it would cost as little as possible. My self-confidence was at an all-time low due to several other things that happened. It really was a bad time for me in all aspects. Now, sitting here I can look back and say: “Thank God I didn’t give up. Thank God for His love, guidance, patience and miracles”
Col 4:12 says to “Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God.” This is a very strong verse to me – I hope to discuss another aspect of it at a later time, but for now, note the PERSISTANT part. You know what Jesus said about knocking at the door? Yes, that one. Keep on praying, keep on trusting in God, for “the Lord watches over the righteous and listens to their prayers; but he opposes those who do evil” (1Peter 3:12) and in Jeremiah 33:2-3 we read “The Lord, who made the earth, who formed it and set it in place, spoke to me. He whose name is the Lord said, 3 “Call to me, and I will answer you; I will tell you wonderful and marvelous things that you know nothing about” and Psalm 6:9 says he listens to my cry for help and will answer my prayer. And while you pray, also remember that “when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. 7-8 If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:6-8) Pray about it, and when you have prayed, give God a chance to speak to you, as He did to me through the image of the desert. I trust that you will find some courage in my words, or that you might pass it on to someone you know who needs to hear it. I love you in the name of Jesus. And most importantly – Jesus loves YOU.