September 1999
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Desert Lessons

Douglas Burton-Christie decided to walk the last few miles to his spiritual retreat at an Egyptian monastery. He stepped off the bus in a small village and confidently set out across the desert. A few hours later, he realized that he was lost. Instead of arriving at the monastery self-assured and proud, he eventually found his way there humbled and grateful to be alive.

He said, “I gradually came to understand one of the most important things the desert had to teach me: To enter the desert is to relinquish the illusion of control.”

Being in charge of our own destiny is a fantasy we cling to. But when God takes us through a “desert experience,” we learn that our only hope rests in Him.

After 40 years in the wilderness, with the Promised Land finally in sight, Moses challenged God’s people to remember a lesson from those years: “He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna . . . , that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (Dt. 8:3).

If you’re in a desert today, take heart. God is still in control. He’s teaching you to depend on Him.

I strode into the desert of my will,
Obsessed with each mirage that I could chase;
God let me wander aimlessly until
I cried for the oasis of His grace. —Gustafson

In every desert of trial God has an oasis of comfort.