By Pastor Vinnie Cappetta
"The Desert May Just Be the Best Place for You Right Now"
My friend no longer wants to talk on the phone. He no longer wants to do things that he used to enjoy doing. He used to talk to all sorts of people on his walks around the block, but now he looks straight ahead focusing on what is in front of him. As I listen to my friend, it seems, at first, like he might be depressed but as I continue to listen, I come to see something different than depression. It is clear that some things are being put to death in his life, but at the same time, I can see that some things are coming to life. He enjoys silence now when he never did before. He is able to read books and understand them when he couldn’t do this previously. God is teaching him things through the week and he can easily explain them to me when before he wanted nothing to do with the Bible. It seems as though my friend is in the desert, but perhaps the desert is the best place for him right now.
Fred B. Cunningham captures well what I see happening with my friend…
“The spiritual life is a journey out of Egypt into the Promised Land, by way of the wilderness. There is nothing in the desert. I am alone with my thoughts in the desert. I am alone with my sin in the desert. The desert is also a place of quiet and rest. It is a place to get away. It is the place to know how much God cares for me that God wants me to rest in and be attended by God. The desert is a place of devotion to God with no distractions, the place where all is forsaken for the love of God. Poverty and detachment have their value as they are prompted by God's love for me and are expressions of my love in return. God has brought me into this desert so I can know of the love God has for me. I thought it was to hurt me, to make me feel bad, to teach me self-control, but it has been so that I can hear and feel how much God loves me. It is not a question of how much I must depend on God, but how much I can depend on God... God has taken me into the desert not to separate me but to love me. The desert is being alone with God. I can let go of everything because I am held by God. I claim nothing because I am claimed by God.”
-Fred B. Cunningham, "Excerpts from a Pastor's Journal, Weavings”
Does this description of the desert resonate with you? If so, the desert may just be the best place for you right now.