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Hope in the midst of dryness

Remember every road that God led you on for those forty years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that he would know what you were made of, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He put you through hard times. He made you go hungry. Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about, so you would learn that men and women don’t live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God’s mouth. Your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t blister those forty years. You learned deep in your heart that God disciplines you in the same ways a father disciplines his child. (Deuteronomy 8: 2-5)

Remembering means that we go through a process of thinking of something again and again. In the process, we bring our attention to something we want to be aware of - bringing what exists in the unconscious mind back into the conscious mind. I remember my first "solo" bike ride - but mostly because I have scars to show for it! I remember the birth of my two children, but not every excruciating moment! I recall the meal I had for dinner last night - but it carries no significance to me. There are times when we remember stuff in a way that is not the actual way things "went down". We have "fabricated" our own "truth" of the event in the memory. If you have ever been on a mountain-top experience for a while, you likely have some pretty fond memories of those moments in time. On the other hand, if you have also endured the dryness of the desert times on your way to the mountain-top, you might just have some pretty significant memories of those experiences which almost did you in.

Every road is the opportunity for a memory. Every desert experience is a moment in time when God directed his attention toward something in us which needed to get exposed - some good, some not so much. In the dryness and barrenness of the desert, what we really have deep in our hearts just seems to get revealed. The desert has a way of magnifying what is really buried deep within. Maybe this is the purpose of the desert - so our hearts get some time to reveal their true selves! Probably the most significant part of our memories is "what" we hold onto from these experiences. The tidbits of truth, moments of hope, revealed truths - we don't hold onto the "entirety" of the desert experience in our memory, just the memorable moments. Some might refer to these as those "teachable" moments. Others call them their "AHA" moments. Whatever you may call them, they are the times when something of significant revelation occurred. A part of you was revealed - God enlightened you to not only yourself, but to his grace to change that part into what he actually envisioned for us. These are the moments we create a "memory" about because they speak to us of the growth produced even in the barren places of our lives.

Most don't recall the tests of obedience, yet the desert is full of them. In the midst of the desert, God is calling for some element of obedient response from us. We usually hold onto the "results" of the steps of obedience but forget the actual moments of distress which brought the revelation of where our obedience was being called for. We don't think about "how" we got from step A to step B - we just know we got there! I think God instructed Israel to remember ALL the roads they traveled in the desert because each had a significance in their overall growth. In the midst of the test, there is a whole lot of silence. 
The desert provides silence. Why? To give you time to process your thought - to bring into your conscious mind what has been stored away in your unconscious mind.  You don't see or hear much, but you become very conscious of what is working in your mind! I think this is important for us to recognize because we sometimes think God isn't in the desert, but really, he is just giving us time to realize what we already know! The desert just brings it to the surface a little clearer! The desert has a way of bringing out the fruit. You might not think this possible because you only see the barrenness, sense the quietness, and resist the "heat" of the desert experience. In the midst of the desert, God is showing us what matters - what we can hold onto. So, rather than resist the "dryness", maybe it is time to allow it to bring out what we already know, but maybe haven't brought into the forefront of our memory in a while! Just sayin!

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