Earlier this morning, as I read a blog entitled Wandering In The Desert by Arisensleeper, I found myself contemplating my own desert journey. There have been a number of times in my life when I have felt that I was wandering about in the desert, but there is no time when I have been more aware of it than now.
For nearly five and a half years, it seems like my husband and I have been wandering in a desert. It started with my cancer diagnosis in December 2007. I spent the greater part of 2008 going through cancer treatment. Just as we were trying to get back on our feet financially, I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in December 2009. In January 2011 I was placed on an administrative leave pending a medical review as it was suspected that I was suffering from residual effects of the rupture and could no longer teach.
January 2011-September 2011 was a nightmare of uncertainty as I trudged from one specialist to the next trying to assess exactly what I was capable of and what I was not capable of doing and was flooded with an unbelievable amount of paperwork. This is a daunting enough task for anyone but when you have suffered brain-damage, it is even worse. Trying to keep us afloat, my poor husband was typically working 60 hours or more a week and attempting to deal with me and my "issues".
I was finally awarded long-term disability and though we were still facing a huge shortfall every month of more than $1,200.00, we could see an end in sight. With my husband's overtime and freelancing, we were staying afloat. Every time we were about to go under, God would provide additional work for him, we were able to refinance our underwater mortgage, someone would give us a gift of money and so forth.
In November of 2012, we could see a light at the end of the tunnel. Two debts were going to be paid off in January and if we were careful, we would just about break even every month and not be so dependent on overtime and freelance work. Things were also always slower at my husband's work in January. "Finally," I thought, "finally he will be able to get some rest!"
On December 14, 2012, without any warning, my husband suddenly lost his job. He had been there since July 2, 1985. It is not easy to find a new job when you are 52 years old and the industry you worked in has shifted to freelancers for the most part.
God is good. He has faithfully cared for our needs over the past four months and He is continuing to do so. At the same time, if I am not careful, I find myself scanning the horizon of the "desert" and complaining to God just like the Israelites, "Have you brought us out here to die?"
They were so busy looking at the desert that they did not look at God. There is no other time in the Bible where there is a continued physical manifestation of God both day and night. The people only had to lift up their eyes and they would see God.
Yes, they were in the desert and the hot sun pounded down upon the sand but the "cloud by day" covered them and protected them from it's effects. The nights were cold and dark, but the "pillar of fire" gave them light, warmth and protection. The Lord God Almighty, provided them with food and drink. Their clothing and shoes did not wear out. Every single need was provided for them and yet time and time again, they complain against God.
I don't want to be like them. I want to set my eyes on God rather than on the desert. Though I may be wandering in the desert for a season, God is out there with me. He sustains me and protects me. Why? Because He loves me and is with me and the same is true for you.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 (NIV)