View from Back Side of the Desert
There are three classes of people: those who
have been in
the desert, those still in the desert, and those who have your day coming in
the desert! If you have been there, you
need no explanation from me. If you
haven’t been there, no words of mine will explain it to you. It is not a popular topic, and God’s people
perish for lack of knowledge.
Being “on the backside of the desert”
is not a
self-inflicted inconvenience or a detour because of our spiritual
slackness. It is one of God’s major
destinations for those He wants to take deeper.
He is deliberate in leading us into the desert to speak tenderly to us
and to make our trouble a gateway of hope.
God says, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into
the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley
of Achor a door of hope”
(Hosea 2:14-15). There we give ourselves
to Him in a new way, and He affirms to us that we are bound to Him forever in
righteousness, justice, unfailing love, and compassion (Hosea 2:19-20).
God has purposes and blessings for us in the
afterward. From there, we will know Him
as Lord more deeply. He wants to sharpen
our listening skills to His voice alone.
He wants us to know that the only proper response when there is nothing
we can control is to trust that He is in control, and He can’t get it
wrong. He wants to show us that there
are only two places to go: down and out, or right up into His lap. He gets us where we can’t move in our flesh,
because He must do everything of eternal significance by His Spirit. In the heat of the desert, He burns up or
blows away all the wood, hay, and stubble of our pride, confidence, and
The Bible says that John the Baptist grew strong
in the desert (Luke 1:80). There, he
preached the message of the new entrance of God into the affairs of earth
(Matthew 3:1). The Holy Spirit led Jesus
into the desert (Matthew 4:1, Luke 4:1).
Luke 4:14 tells us that Jesus came out of the desert in the power of the
Spirit and preached his first public sermon: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to
proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to
release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke
4:18-19). This was His mission statement
for the three years of His earthly ministry and His ultimate ministry to us and
What lies ahead? Based
on the experience of the Israelites, we can expect more giant obstacles, more
resistance by the heathen and hell itself, fiercer battles, and more
confrontation with the forces of darkness.
That is the bad news. The good
news is that there are great things to come: more positioning as the Body of
Christ to move corporately, more victories, more blessings, more light, more
power in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, more of His presence, and more of
His glory made manifest in our world. For
the joy set before us!
by Sylvia Gunter