When you think of a desert, what comes to mind? For me, it’s dirt, space, and the scorching sun. In general, it seems like a place that represents lifelessness, and somewhat hopelessness, since there’s nothing there that excites most. However, I believe if we asked Moses, he’d share a very different perspective. Through his story in Exodus, we see that the desert represented more than a location, but a significant place that served as the backdrop to some of his most pivotal moments.
The first time we see Moses in the open desert is when he runs away from Egypt to escape the guilt and consequences of his crime. In a state of fear and confusion, he finds himself in the middle of what seemed like nowhere. However, that nowhere became a place for him to find himself. In the desert, he learned about life in ways that Egypt never taught him. He also met his wife and started a new family, with the responsibility of shepherding sheep. Who would’ve thought that in the desert, Moses, a former prince of Egypt, could’ve shifted his mindset and developed his leadership abilities?
I think it’s safe to say that the “desert moment” that changed his life the most was when He encountered God through the burning bush. Though Moses had run from his past and had gotten used to life in a dry place, with seemingly no dreams or aspirations, no sign of change, no sense of direction or fulfillment beyond daily routines, he was still caught being diligent with his natural responsibilities. God saw him making the best out of a bad situation. He saw him being teachable and productive. Before Moses knew of God, God had been molding him for his future – in the desert. There, the flame of God stopped him in his tracks and directed him toward destiny. Had Moses not gone through what he went through, including his mistakes, and still learned diligence, he wouldn’t have been prepared for purpose.
Isn’t that like us though? It’s often through trials that we push ourselves to be diligent. In desperation, we develop a strength and courage that we never knew we had. Thirsting for clarity and answers, we reach for fulfillment. In reluctant comfort, we are yet captivated by the call for more. Somehow in the process of restoring our lives from the dry places of brokenness, shame, regret, and uncertainty, we not only find our way, but often develop the ability to lead others.
If you feel like you’re in a dry place, wondering what’s next, I encourage you to remain diligent to the tasks God has given you, great or small. Whether it’s committing to prayer and Bible study, finishing your current school program, remaining faithful in ministry, or something else…do it diligently. Know that even there, God is present and preparing you for something bigger. Remember that in the desert, identity is established, preparation occurs, relationship with God is cultivated, and so much more. Don’t have a pity party! Trust that God will meet you with faithfulness! Be caught having diligence in the desert.