“Lots of people hate the desert. That’s because they are really afraid of it. They’re afraid of being left alone with themselves.” -Earle Stanley Gardner
I gripped tightly the camel I was riding. Up and down the hills we went, my hands clenching firmly on the descent, relaxing and repositioning on the ascent. Taking in the view, I found myself in awe of the beauty, the stillness, and the majesty of miles and miles of sandy hills. For the first time in my life, I was in the Sahara Desert.
I kept thinking, “This is nothing like the desert I’ve seen in the U.S. or in a Western film.” It reminded me more of the desert in Aladdin than the tumbleweeds of Death Valley. It was a bucket list adventure that changed the way I see the desert.
We all experience desert seasons. They force themselves into our homes with a loss of a loved one, a bad health report, an embarrassing failure, or a hope continually deferred. Pain and suffering are some of the most desolate places we experience in this life.
Other times a desert season welcomes itself into our lives when routines become too ordinary and life seems to stagnate. We are stuck. And God, in His grace, sends us to the desert.
The desert is a lonesome place, full of challenges. We expect it to be barren and dry, but I was shocked that it rained during my visit. There was a refreshing peace and beauty in the solitude, away from city life. The desert is where the Creator wants to commune with you. He wants to speak like He did in the wilderness to Moses (Exodus 3:1). He wants to perform miracles in the wilderness like He did for His children long ago.
Perhaps we’ve missed how the desolate places and seasons can be exactly what we need to reconnect with God. We keep trying to find God in the familiar places when He wants to do something new. We’ve not realized that the desert holds more than just the struggle.
God is there and He wants to meet with you.