Sometimes the journey through our desert seems like it will never end.
When we lose a loved one, we think that after each of the firsts has passed (first Christmas, first birthday, first anniversary) the pain will ease and we will come out of the desert. But it doesn't. We walk through a desert of loss.
As a parent, when a son or daughter goes astray, we walk through a desert of guilt, afraid they may never come home.
When we are betrayed by someone we trusted, we walk through the desert of mistrust, afraid of being hurt again.
When we lose a job, we walk through a desert of insecurity, afraid our needs will not be met.
When we face cancer, we walk through a desert of "what if's".
And sometimes, on the journey, it seems like time stands still. If only we could run through and get to the other side sooner. Even the Psalmist David cried out. "My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?" (Psalms 6:3) "Relent, O Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants." (Psalms 90:13)
Os Hilman said it so perfectly. A woman came to him in the midst of her desert and said, "How will I know when I'm coming out of the desert?". And he answered, "When it doesn't matter anymore. It does not mean we can't have a longing for better days, but there is a Godly contentment that allows us to remain in any condition with a peace that passes all understanding."
God allows each of us to walk through our deserts so that we may totally surrender to Him. All of our hurt, guilt, mistrust, insecurity and "what ifs". And when it "doesn't matter anymore", our journey will have accomplished His purpose.