Having experienced the testing of my faith during a particularly tough period of my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that what every Christian needs is to spend some time in the barren places of life. During the challenge it is not an enjoyable place to be but in hindsight, nothing digs ones root deeper or raising ones faith higher than the trial of the wilderness.
Akin to the natural barren places of the wilderness, our spiritual journey often takes us through periods that seem so dry, lonely and challenging. In a desert, we get so thirsty that our minds can even play tricks on us as dry patches of land take on the form of bodies of water. This is no different spiritually speaking. In the barren places, our souls thirst and long for the living water so badly that if we’re not careful, we are prone to being deceived into drinking from broken cisterns of polluted waters rather than from the Holy Spirit Who is the river of life.
Perhaps the Psalmist knew a thing or two about the barren places of life when he penned down Psalm 42:1-2a: As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Like I mentioned earlier, the barren places of life are where great caution should be taken as to the source of water one drinks to quench their soul-thirst. God Himself gives a damning verdict of His people in Jeremiah 2: “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Communion with the Holy Spirit through prayer is what will keep the soul from dehydration in the barren places.
In the barren places of life, we also tend to get very hungry. This is where the word of God comes in. I remember during the last period of testing I experienced, receiving a rhema word from God on a daily basis went from being a luxury to an absolute necessity for my daily survival. I needed to hear from God in a specific way each day and that meant I had to give the Holy Spirit ample ammunition with which to speak to my heart by filling myself with the scriptures.
The Prophet, Jeremiah, knew a thing or two about life in the wilderness. He was actually nicknamed the wailing prophet! In Chapter 15 and verse 16 of his book, he wrote: When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.
In the barren places of life, the last thing we need to highlight is our tendency to grow weary and give up. When you look around a desert and only see sand dunes as far as your eyes can see then a sense of hopelessness sets in. In life’s trials, sometimes its difficult to see how or when such periods will end. Often it seems as though it’s an endless journey and many give up along the way and become victims of the wilderness. In such times what do the scriptures advice us to do? WAIT!! That’s right! Do absolutely nothing but wait for God to act on your behalf.
Another one of God’s ancient spokesmen wrote this thousands of years ago: But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. – Isaiah 40:31.
I get excited in my spirit when I discern that an individual is going through the mysteries of the barren places. I encourage them and pray that they will connect with the mighty work that God will perform on them if they yield to His hands and trust that He has a purpose for allowing them experience such trials. It’s never an easy place to be but when you come through on the other side, you will be better equipped and ready to strengthen those coming behind you.
- Wilderness Experiences (trinityspeaks.wordpress.com)