Stumbling Through the Desert

ncourage-07By Bailey Banwart

We will all go through seasons of life in which we feel God’s presence fade, for the lucky ones, it will fade the smallest amount. But for others of us, we will lose this presence altogether. This loss is what I’ve been working through lately. As I await God’s promises in this new season of life, I often feel as though He has left me defenseless. I’ve been combatting this feeling of emptiness and isolation every day by allotting myself time with God, and for God, and reading His word. Perhaps my greatest tool in this fight against my feeling of abandonment is the book God, Where Are You?! by John Bevere. This book, along with my wonderful support system of family and friends, reminds me that God has not left me alone, rather He is right alongside me. It’s me who has turned away. I’ve made the decision to put God on the back burner and go through my days alone. It’s me who has chosen to tune out the sermon or the speaker. It’s me who says, “No, I don’t have time”.  

God has shown His faithfulness to me in small ways every day. And it’s in the little things and the small moments that I gradually turn back toward His love and kindness. It’s in the chills I get at P&W, in the faces of my classmates, and in the sounds of my roommates’ laughter.  Our God is so much greater than our doubts, our fears, our rebellion. He holds tightly to us, even in our time spent turning away from Him. I’m reminded of his love when I read Psalm 37: 23-24, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they may stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”  

I want to point out two different things here. One: God delights in our lives, in every single detail. In the bad times and the good times God is watching over us and is delighted in us. Even when it feels as though I’ve failed, or turned away, God is there with me, delighting in my steps leading back to him. Second: the difference between stumbling and falling. God prevents me from falling, even if it feels as though I’ve just face planted, God was right alongside me and He has kept me upright. God does not promise our journey of faith to be easy, He knows I will stumble. Even if I feel as though I’ve been stumbling for days, weeks, maybe even months, it’s a comfort to know that God will prevent me from falling over.  

The season I am currently navigating through can sometimes be referred to as the desert or the wilderness. A time in which I don’t exactly know where God is taking me or when He will move me next. This desert land, I will point out to you all, is not void of God, however. The desert is a place to rebuild and challenge our faith. The desert can be a spiritual wall we’ve hit, or a spiritual dry spell as we listen for God’s call. We will go through so much in this life, whether it be trekking through deserts or sitting through storms. But one thing is for certain, although God will not always calm the waters right when you ask him to, He will be there with you through it. I encourage you all to fix your eyes upon God, even when it feels as though all is lost.  



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