When I retired from the military, I had been in a structured life for 28+ years. Between high school, work and the military, I had been under someone else’s authority for more than 35 years. I was good at following orders, I was a good ‘soldier’. I worked with and for people I respected and admired. That all changed as I journeyed into my own desert experience in January 2004.
I was initially shocked at what I found in the business world. Even though I was a fulltime racing chaplain, I came in contact with many business people. Some where really good, others not so much. I often wondered how some of them stayed in business given their lack of discipline and shady ways.
The church was no different. I met many mean and manipulative pastors and congregations. All smiles on the outside, but always with their own agenda to prosper themselves or their cause, not grow the Kingdom. It was a pretty disappointing time in my life. I really wondered why the Lord had set me on this path and often considered going back to the military as a civilian worker.
It would be 7 years from the time I retired until we started MotorManiaTV.com It was a pretty wild ride to say the least. The Lord separated me from nearly all of my military contacts and set me on a path of discovery. I would discover who I was as a person and who I was in Him and eventually what He wanted me to do with my life. What I found was amazing. I was naive to the ways of the world and soon realized that outside my family and close friends, only the Lord was trustworthy.
He took me to the desert to separate from who I was before I met Him so I could become the person He wanted me to be. All of this was done so I could impact the Kingdom for Him. My biggest discovery was realizing if I allowed Him to steer my life, it would be more than I could ever imagine.
The desert can take many forms. It does not necessarily mean sand and tumbleweeds. But it does mean a separation of what you knew to what the Lord has for you. Embrace the desert, ask the Lord what He wants you to learn and He will answer you.
by Os Hillman
Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. – Galatians 1:17
The apostle Paul tells us in the first chapter of Galatians some of the facts surrounding his own conversion. He tells us that he clearly understood the call Jesus placed on his life. He did not have to consult other men about this calling. But before he was released to begin his own mission, He went to Arabia for three years. Why did Paul have to go to Arabia for three years before he ever met another disciple of Jesus Christ?
The Scripture does not tell us plainly why Paul spent three years in Arabia. However, based upon many examples of God placing special calls on people’s lives, we know it often requires a time of separation between the old life and the new life. No doubt, Paul had plenty of time to consider what had taken place in his life and time to develop an intimate knowledge and relationship with the newfound Savior. His life was about to change dramatically.
So often, when God places a call on one of His children, it requires a separation between the old life and the new life. There is a time of being away from the old in order to prepare the heart for what is coming. It can be a painful and difficult separation. Joseph was separated from his family. Jacob was sent to live with his uncle Laban. Moses was sent to the desert.
When God began a deeper work in my own life, it required a separation from all I had known before. He removed all that I had placed confidence in up to that point. It was very painful and very scary since I was in my mid-40?s. In my mind, it was not the time to start life over. I had been making plans for early retirement. God had a different idea. He removed all my comforts and security in order to accomplish a much greater work than what I could see at the time. The picture is clear now. I understand why it was necessary, but I didn’t at the time.
Perhaps God has placed you in your own desert period. Perhaps you cannot make sense of the situation in which you find yourself. If you press into God during this time, He will reveal the purposes He has for you. The key is pressing into Him. Seek Him with a whole heart and He will be found. God may have a special calling and message He is building in your life right now. Trust in His love for you that He will fully complete the work He has started in you.