These last few days have been a real blessing. The combination of starting Ukrainian lessons with a great teacher, getting more in the swing of youth meetings, and watching one wonderful video of Ray Vander Laan helped center my focus and understanding of God's call to me here in Ukraine.
I have always loved watching Ray Vander Laan's Bible lessons, ever since Mr. Duzan showed them in his Grade 8 Bible class. We just started a series in our English Bible Study of Ray's new book “Walking with God in the desert”. The first session was about the Israelites in the desert and their journey to the Promised Land. In the Bible the desert was a paradox... it was a dangerous place, yet a place of refuge. The desert was a place of complaining and disobedience, but a place where the Israelites followed God. The lesson examined the struggles the Israelites faced while in the desert- but it was also a time where God was called upon and was heard from continuously. There was hope and provision in a time of wandering and hardship.
Ray then used this as a parallel to our lives.. metaphorical deserts = a time of hardships, chaos, confusion, frustration.. the feeling of wandering around aimlessly. He shared stories about the times he felt like he was in a desert. And he asked himself 'why am I in this desert?'. We ask God- why are we in this desert? I don't understand.
And for myself, and probably many others, that is the moment we become humble, we become desperate, we start to search. I search for answers, and usually I start in the wrong place... I look in the world for relief, for peace and don't find it. And finally the noise of the world fades, and I find God in the desert with me. God is in the silence. Waiting for me to follow him. And finding God doesn't automatically make the desert- the hardships, the pain, the troubles- go away and easy. But it gives us the ability to make it through it. God is there with me. And you.
I have heard this metaphor of deserts before, but I needed to hear it again. I needed to be reminded. I don't feel like I am in a severe desert here in Ukraine, but, there is those moments of confusion, frustration, and wondering where God is leading me. And if I hit a desert I want to let God speak to me, to take the time to hear his voice.
There is a Hillsong praise song – 'The Desert Song'. I encourage you to listen to it, it's a song that resonates my feelings in those hard seasons of life.