Training Ground

Psalm 63:1-4
“God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. So I gaze on You in the sanctuary to see Your strength and Your glory. My lips will glorify You because Your faithful love is better than life. So I will praise You as long as I live; at Your name, I will lift up my hands.”

The Intimacy of the Desert

In the Bible reading plan on the UPI app we’ve been following the nation of Israel through the desert on their way to the Promised Land. God is trying to help them unlearn their Egyptian ways and learn to trust the One who rescued them from slavery. Many times the Israelites express their desire to return to the certainty of slavery in Egypt rather than dealing with the uncertainty of the desert and having to trust in God’s provision and protection.

In this pandemic, many people long for certainty, but feel like they’re left alone to struggle through the uncertainty of this desert. People have lost family members, friends, jobs and maybe even hope.

In the Hebrew language the words desert, sanctuary and sheepfold all stem from the same root word. God often leads those He will use into the desert for training. Psalm 63 refers to the desert as God's sanctuary (His holy of holies). It is an intimate place, a training ground, to grow in deep bonding with the Lord. Only when we have been trained can we become a sheepfold for others, a place where people can come to find shelter and protection from the uncertainty of this world.  

From my own experience, I have matured spiritually the most in the desert. Intense and intimate times of learning to trust in His ways rather than my own. Coming out the other side, I was strengthened to be available for others that might be going through a desert themselves.

I have missed meeting in-person with others over the last year. However, there were many positives I’m thankful for from our lockdowns in Germany. Spending extended time together as a family was a bonus. I also started many online Bible studies that far exceeded the reach that I could have had in-person to talk about the love of Jesus with ballplayers.

God is in control through the desert. He wants us to get to know and trust Him more intimately.

We need to ask ourselves if we are going to trust God through our desert and become a place of shelter and protection for people that are still struggling through their own desert.