What do you do when your life is defined by all the things you cannot do?

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

Matthew 4:1&2

Dwelling in the desert is a repeated experience throughout Scripture. It is in the desert that people are tested, tempted, told to listen or simply told to wait.

The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.

1 Kings 17:6&7

The desert is frequently the refining furnace of the soul. When there are no distractions, no external sources to blame, I am must face my truest self. My heart hurts for those who are simply lonely in this time. But many of us need this time of isolation. We need to face the person we have become.

By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

Hebrews 11:9

Deserts prepare us for a life of faith. When the regular rhythm of my life is disrupted, when my plans are thrown into turmoil, I realize my own frailty, my lack of sovereignty. So many paragons of faith in Scripture lack what we would consider formal education, yet they find themselves amply trained by their semesters in the wilderness.

Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.”

Exodus 4:22

Perhaps the goal here is not to return to our lives of comfort as soon as possible. Perhaps God is leading you to a “better country.”

Here I am Lord. Make me brave. Open my eyes.

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