Lessons learned while living in the desert...

Today’s Reading: Josh. 13-15, Luke 1:57-80

Today’s Reflection: Luke 1:80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.

John the Baptist was certainly one of a kind. He’s the only man in the Bible that was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb. It is obvious that God had John set aside all for Himself. 

In fact, as he grew through childhood into adulthood, our text teaches us that, though he waxed strong in spirit, he was yet living in the deserts until God was ready to release him into his primary ministry. 

The phrase “…waxed strong in the spirit, AND was in the deserts…” [emphasis added] intrigues me. Here’s why. It is human nature for us to assume that, once we gain the level of strength we need to take on a task, that we begin immediately taking on said task. 

Not so for John the Baptist. This verse seems to imply that though he waxed strong, he also still lived in the deserts for a period of time WHILE he was strong. In other words, he was ready to go and on high alert, just awaiting his orders to step into the limelight, but there was a waiting period still to endure. 

I think it can be said that God not only wanted to build up his strength, but also his endurance. What good is strength, if it cannot endure the test of time? That said, what kind of “desert living” are you having to endure as you serve Christ? 

I know sometimes it feels like your strength is almost gone, but the truth is staring you in the face; namely, that you’re still here. Through many dangers, toils, and snares you have already come. 

You have endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, and just when you thought the long, harsh elements of the desert were going to finish you off, God gave grace and strength to get you through another span of sweltering hot days and bitter cold nights. 

The locusts and wild honey have not been easy to stomach, especially having had such meager supplies day in and day out, but yet you have been sustained. In other words, though you haven’t always had 12 oz rib-eye steaks for supper, you have none the less been kept alive and taught to survive the harshest of circumstance. 

Now, here’s why. God trains His soldiers to be tough, when they have tough assignments ahead of them. If you are still in preparation stages, rest assured that it is for a reason beyond your immediate and limited understanding. 

John the Baptist had no way of knowing that he would end up in prison facing execution for preaching the Gospel, but do you think harsh living environments intimidated him? Not after having been raised and prepared in the deserts. Know this; where you are is strengthening you for your future!

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Floodgates of Heaven, Volume 2, Entry 82 of 365
copyright © by Gary D. Caudill