As I sat today looking at the fading blossoms of my beautiful rhododendron, it reminded me of when I transplanted it four years ago. We had just moved and as I contemplated its sickly-looking condition, I seriously thought it was ready for the compost bin!
“Let’s try moving it to the backyard under the shade of the trees,” I suggested to my much less enthusiastic husband. So we uprooted it, pruned it, gave it a new location, added some bone meal, and you should see it now! That poor plant had been tested to its limits, neglected, and crowded. But, when given a chance to rest, draw on fresh nutrients, and put down deep roots in a new environment, it stood the test and became more productive than ever before.
Isn’t that just like our lives? Sometimes we face a period of testing or go through a dry spell when we feel we have lost our joy, effectiveness, or zeal. Whatever the cause, it can seem an awfully long and agonizing time.
When Moses fled into the Midian desert, he must have felt God could no longer use him. He’d really blown the whole leadership thing! We know very little about this hidden time in his life except that he got married, had two sons, and tended his father-in-law’s sheep. He had spent most of his first forty years in the lap of luxury, and the next forty in a lonely, dusty wasteland. (Exodus 2:15-22 and Acts 7:29)
But, I believe that’s exactly where God needed Moses to be so He could prepare him for the role He had originally chosen this man to fulfill. God had transplanted Moses to a place where He could test his faith and loyalty. As we will see later, God also humbled Moses to the point where he could again become an effective leader.
Are you facing a test or dry spell in your life today? Perhaps you’re wondering, like I have, if you will ever know joy and peace again. In mid-June I commented to my pastor that I was craving the “abundant life” he had been speaking about in his last sermon series (based on John 10:10 and Romans 8).
“But, Kathy,” he said, “You are living that abundant life! Just because you don’t feel joy right now doesn’t mean you aren’t living what God has promised you. The abundant life often involves suffering, especially when you are seeking to walk more closely with Christ. He has not abandoned you and He will not leave you in the desert forever.”
What a difference this perspective is making in my life! So, take heart, my friend! God does see and care for you; He will never fail you, give up on you, leave you helpless or without support, forsake you, let you down, or relax His hold on you (see Hebrews 13:5b, Amplified Version)