I woke up this morning, feeling the same way I went to bed. Panicked. Wednesday, is usually a good day for me. I love going to bible study. I love the children's choir and I love adult choir. But today, I wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep until the dream was over. My heart wasn't into any of it. I kept reading the report from the day before over and over again. Before I left for bible study, I checked my work e-mail as I always do in the mornings. I receive a daily devotional by Os Hilman called TGIF (Today God is First). It is a devotional designed for workplace believers but really applies to all areas of our lives. On the mornings I work, I always go into the hospital early, find a quiet computer somewhere, read my devotional and pray. Then I am ready to start my day. Most days I find the devotional relevant to my daily situation and some days it doesn't speak to me as well as others. But this day was different than any other I had ever experienced! I have posted it below.
The Purpose of the Desert
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, January 07 2009
Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. - Hosea 2:14
If you have an important message to convey to someone, what is the best means of getting the message through? Have you ever tried to talk with someone who was so busy you could not get him to hear you? Distractions prevent us from giving our undivided attention to the messenger. So too, God has His way of taking us aside to get our undivided attention. For Paul, it was Arabia for three years; for Moses, it was 40 years in the desert; for Joseph, it was 13 years in Egypt; for David, it was many years of fleeing from King Saul.
God knows the stubborn human heart. He knows that if He is to accomplish His deepest work, He must take us into the desert in order to give us the privilege to be used in His Kingdom. In the desert God changes us and removes things that hinder us. He forces us to draw deep upon His grace. The desert is only a season in our life. When He has accomplished what He wants in our lives in the desert, He will bring us out. He has given us a mission to fulfill that can only be fulfilled after we have spent adequate time in preparation in the desert. Fear not the desert, for it is here you will hear God's voice like never before. It is here you become His bride. It is here you will have the idols of your life removed. It is here you begin to experience the reality of a living God like never before. Someone once said, "God uses enlarged trials to produce enlarged saints so He can put them in enlarged places!"
He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me (2 Samuel 22:20).
As I was reading this I felt as though God Himself was standing beside me speaking. My first thought was "Oh no. This really is true. God couldn't get my attention because I was so busy with the "things of the world" that he is going to lead me into the desert and it would be called Cancer. But as I read it over and over each word told me of His plan for my life. He wants to accomplish a deep work in me. He will take me into the desert. He will change me. He will remove things in my life that are more important than Him. He will tame my stubborn heart. But I need not be afraid. It is only for a season and during this season I will hear His voice like I have never heard it before! I will journey through this desert with a real, living God!
I am no longer panic stricken. I have a peace that I didn't have an hour ago. I know that the Living God has spoken to me and I need to tell anyone who will listen!!
I went to church and was able to share with Pastor Steve how God had spoken to me. We had prayer. I went to bible study and was enlightened by the lesson. I went to children’s choir and had a wonderful time with the children. I enjoyed adult choir and singing and praying with our choir family.
The very things that I had dreaded doing this morning were the things that gave me the most pleasure at the end of the day. Oh how often we see these as obligations; prayer, devotionals, study of the Word, children, choir practice. When they are in reality God’s way of making our life more abundant .