Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. Psalm 107:4-9 ESV
My four-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer a month after we moved to a new state. Our support network of friends and family were now almost 800 miles away. The moving boxes were barely even unpacked when we received the cancer diagnosis. Our life was plunged into a desert season. As we watched our precious child struggle through chemo side effects, we felt like we were wandering in the desert wastes. As we saw his hair fall out and he stopped eating because of mouth sores, our souls fainted within us.
We spent three long months in the heart of that desert. During his five rounds of chemo, we cried out to the Lord. His deliverance felt slow in coming because of our desperate need. However, HE was there with us and sustained us. The Lord was teaching us to depend on Him. This wasn’t an easy time. Deserts never are. Sometimes we desperately prayed to even make it through five more minutes of watching our son suffer.
We learned, like the Israelites, that God was leading us by a “straight way.” As we cried out to God during our trials, we trusted him to get us through. God can refine you to not rely on anything other than Him. From our desert season, we emerged with a deep dependence on God.
Pediatric cancer wasn’t our first desert season and I know it won’t be our last. But with each trip through the desert, we learn greater dependence on God and greater trust in His love for us. I can truly say that God satisfies my longing soul, and that He fills my soul with good things and I can thank Him for His steadfast love. I’m happy to share that my son has been in remission for over a year. Praise the Lord!
Your desert might not be a physical illness. It might be an extended period of singleness while you desperately long for marriage. It might be a turbulent time in your marriage where you just can’t seem to get on the same page with your spouse. It might be a career issue, a wayward child, struggling with depression, or any number of things.
Please know that whatever your struggle is, the Bible shows us that we can endure the desert. We know that God is by our side and the desert season will eventually end. It is only a moment along the straight path God has planned for us and God will certainly use it for good. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!
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Action Item |
If you find yourself in a desert season, cry out to God and trust that He will satisfy your longing soul.
Heavenly Father, I know that your will is to sometime have me endure a period in the desert. While my circumstance might not change, I know that you can satisfy the deep need and hunger in my soul. God, deliver me from this time with a greater appreciation of your goodness and steadfast love. Amen.
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