There will be times of rejoicing and there will be times of sorrow and sadness. There will be times of joy and there will be times of barrenness as if you were lost in a desert place. There will be times of singing from the mountain tops and there will be times of lost in the valleys with no sense of direction and purpose.
Because of the nations sins God shut up his people in Babylon for a period of 70 years. This was a time of sorrow and sadness as they felt their loss in a foreign land far away from the land of their fathers as seen in Psalm 137. There will be times in our Christian walk when we to will be sent into captivity, when we will cry out to God and he will not answer. When we sense a cloud between us and God. When we feel that we are wandering around in a desert place. There will be times of darkness and frustration when we will not sense the guiding hand of God.
We have all been in these places when the love of God to us seems cold and distant. It is in these times of discipline that Gods word comes to us from Jeremiah 29 - For I know the plansI have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosperyou and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will callupon me and come and prayto me, and I will listento you. 13 You will seekme and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you backfrom captivity.
It is unfortunate that these verses are so often quoted out of context. God promises us release and a pathway to those who have been in captivity from the Lords discipline and training boot camps. There is sorrow in the evening but in the morning there is joy. Gods word to those who are in a barren place right now, is that at the appointed time God will release you into a new and better future. For it is in these times of testing that God is preparing you for a different ministry and calling, so as Moses was shut away in the desert to prepare him to lead the children of Israel, so to God is preparing his leaders.
God has promised never to leave us, so in our times as we walk through the valley God has not left us, therefore do not hearken to the enemies voice who will whisper that God does not love you. That God cannot help you. That God does not care; that you are all alone, for he will encourage you to ‘worry' yourself into a better place.
Brothers and sisters we need to remember that in these times of captivity when God does not answer our prayers, this is the time of rejoicing for Gods silence is his answer. For Gods silence is a sign that he is bringing you into something deeper as he is fitting you for a marvellous understanding of himself. Gods silence indicates that he has entrusted you in the most intimate way possible, with an absolute silence, not of despair, but of immense pleasure because he has a better plans for you along with a deeper revelation of his wisdom and knowledge.
We need to allow God to bring us into a ‘better place' for there will come a time appointed by God, when he will release us from the desert so that we may walk into his promised land of milk and honey. God says I have plans for you to prosper and pathways that I will make straight for you, highways through the desert.
Therefore let us rejoice in God our saviour, for we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
One of the problems is that we tend to equate "discipline" with "punishment" and that is not always so. Yes, sometimes we wander in a "desert place" because we refuse to listen to God but other times He brings us there so that we might learn lessons we can only learn there. He has work for us to do out there helping others who are wandering there and so forth. Regardless of the reason(s), we must never forget that God is also the God of the Desert.
It is in the "desert" that we realize we must rely on God 100% if we are to survive. It is in the desert that we learn about trust; we develop faith and we come to know God more deeply.