As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Acts 8:26 NLT
Deserts are a part of life.
Furnace Creek at Death Valley National Park in the Mohave Desert of eastern California is the driest place in the US. Between 1971 and 2000, it averaged only 2.3 inches of rain annually. And from 1911 to 1960, the annual rainfall was only 1.6 inches.
I’ve been in some desert places myself. As a teen and a young adult, I wondered whether or not I’d find that special person to spend the rest of my life with. I also remember several relationships that went south and the desert conditions that resulted when they did.
And the finances. The times I lost a job I loved. The times I worked at places that couldn’t pay enough for me to satisfy my monthly obligations. The walk through the financial desert lasted longer than I wanted.
Philip found himself in a desert. Persecution assaulted the early church, scattering the believers. Philip went to Samaria where a great revival broke out. Crowds listened eagerly to his message about Jesus. Healings occurred, and joy permeated the city. Philip surely enjoyed himself.
Until God’s angel told him to go south to a desert road. What in the world would he find there? And why? To witness to a solitary official reading a passage in Isaiah that he didn’t understand. Philip explained it, and the man believed and was baptized. We can only imagine the mission possibilities this desert conversion held.
God often leads us into dry places … desert places. Places we don’t understand. Relationship deserts. Financial or emotional deserts. Just as God’s Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness. We don’t normally know the reason God puts us there, but God knows.
While sin or disobedience can put us there, more often other reasons do. For Philip, his obedience had the possibility of taking God’s love to an entire continent. In the desert, God teaches and prepares us for the next phase of His plan. When things in our lives dry up, we tend to do a better job of listening to God. Our listening leads to spiritual growth, which God also desires.
Deserts often precede new opportunities. Our desert preparation gets us ready for what God has next on His agenda for us.
When God leads you into a desert, ask Him for patience and guidance. Know He has something better ahead.
Prayer: Father, teach us to walk obediently through the deserts, trusting You as we do.
Tweetable: Are you in a desert?
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