From Desert to Garden
It’s so easy to read a blog or a book or read a sermon and think that everyone other than you has their lives together. It’s not true. I want to encourage you that if you can identify with what I’m about to say, you are not alone!
A few months ago I occasionally wondered if I was truly saved. School was choking out my Bible study and prayer life, and I wasn’t focusing on the “things above” as I know I should have been. I felt so much more drawn to things of the world and wondered why I was starting to lose my passion for God. Then I read a passage that really encouraged me in the truth:
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him. For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.
It hit me then: I was discouraged because I was neglecting to “look to the rock from which [I was] hewn.” I was trying to do life on my own strength! I have to say the most encouraging part of the passage is how it focuses on the work of God in the “desert heart.” “The Lord comforts…[He] makes her desert like the garden of the Lord”, etc. Although I must pursue things above, I cannot do it in my own strength, but rather in the strength that God supplies. Things have been different since then. I still have “blah” days, but I am quicker to run to God when these feelings arise in my heart.
I want to encourage you that if you have felt these emotions, you’re not alone. Some might say that Christians must be firm and never waiver in their faith. I just want to tell you that these feelings are far from unnatural. Otherwise, why would these verses be in the Bible!? I want to encourage you further that you will not come out of these emotions on your own strength. You and I can’t grit our teeth and manufacture affection for God. For your joy, ask God to kindle a passion for Him in your heart. He can cause your joy in Him to overflow! Cling to Christ, in His strength, harder than ever before. He, and only He, is able to transform desert souls to gardens, for His glory and our joy.