It’s been almost exactly 4 years since I stepped down as the lead pastor of Mosaic Church DC. That was a very humbling time for me. And failure should humble you. The journey since that time has been a rollercoaster of sorts… there have been some awesome, exhilerating times of growth and seeing God’s favor, but there have also been some rather confusing, disappointing times as well. I’ve been in a desert of sorts… what one author calls The Land Between… and one of the things I’ve come to learn, like never before, is that the desert is really a good thing!
Sometimes, we go through desert experiences because of our own disaobedience and our time in the desert becomes a consequence of the unwise choices we’ve made. Moses is an example of this… seeing himself as a deliverer for his people, the Israelites, he took matters into his own hand and ended up a murderer. Then he had to go on the run. Into the desert. That was the consequence of his sin. But sometimes, God leads us into the desert. We see this with the children of Israel, in the books of Exodus thru Deuteronomy… and we see it in the life of Jesus, too (Matt. 4; Luke 4). In those times, we didn’t do anything wrong necessarily; He just uses the desert to teach us to trust Him and obey Him and to follow Him wholeheartedly. In either case, the desert is a good thing, because- whether we put ourselves there or God put us there – He still wants the same outcome for us: to be able to love Him deeply and trust Him completely… because, in the desert, you’lly be humbled; you’ll be tested; but if you learn to lean in on God, you will grow.
If I’ve learned anything over these four years, it’s that the desert is really a good thing. Especially for leaders. I’ve been humbled. I’ve been tested. And I’ve grown. Am I perfect? Not at all by a long shot. But I’m better. I love what my friend Wayne Cordeiro said to me not too long ago: “God’s proven Shepherds will always be ratified through the furnace… Either of their own doing or of others’. But regardless of the source, the lesson is what’s most important.”
The lesson is what’s most important. Call it the furnace, or the desert, or whatever… but God uses uncomfortable – and sometimes downright painful – situations in our lives to TEACH us. About Him. About ourselves. About the destructive nature of sin. About our need to rest in and rely on Him. We need to know these things in order to live a life that honors and pleases God.
The desert really is a good thing!
Maybe you’re in the desert right now. If so, it could’ve been unwise choices and not depending on God that got you there… or maybe, like the children of Israel, God just wants to use this experience to teach you more about yourself and your need to depend solely on Him. Regardless, remember that the desert is a GOOD thing. It’s not comfortable, but then again… growth seldom is. You’ll be humbled. You’ll be tested. But if you lean in on God, you’ll grow in your love for Him and your dependence on Him.
going growing through desert experience, hang in there. Learn the lessons that God wants you to learn.
The desert. It’s a good thing.