God's word in today's world

Smiling in your struggles

I walked out of church. The minister had talked about the desert where we sometimes find ourselves. We all end up in the desert at one time or another and it is not an enjoyable experience. The minister said that in the desert God cut off all those things that weren’t part of his plan for me. We must remember that God would never leave us and that the Promised Land was waiting on the other side of the desert. This all makes sense.

He then said another thing and that is that we had to praise and worship Him like David, in the desert as well. But even more, we had to praise and worship Him because we were in the desert. I actually wanted to go and talk to him afterwards. Did he really knew how bad it got in the desert sometimes – gratitude and praises didn’t really fit in there.

However, during my devotions the next morning I heard Paul saying the same thing: 24I want you to know how glad I am that it’s me sitting here in this jail and not you. There’s a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world—the kind of suffering Christ takes on. I welcome the chance to take my share in the church’s part of that suffering.

  • Maybe the Lord wanted to say something to me about the way that I handled the desert, hardship and suffering in my life.
  • Maybe I should stop walking around with such a long face. Maybe I should stop feeling sorry for myself.
  • Maybe I should stop focusing on the hardship.
  • Maybe I should start seeing the bigger picture.
  • Maybe I should relax a bit and realise that God is working on me and that He is changing me.

I think we should start taking a stand for what we believe and get rid of the baby food. Being a child of God brings automatic additions to your life. Apart from the grace, salvation, hope, love, etc., we also have to face trials and tribulations, as they say. It’s part of the deal and its purpose is to shape you.

Realise that God is working on you. Realise that God wants to help you get rid of the baggage you carry with you to make you a better and sharper instrument in his hand. Yes, it’s not easy. Yes, sometimes you just want to put an end it all. But realise that God is in the process of improving his picture, making it more and more beautiful.

But I do struggle with this. It’s certainly not easy. It’s not as if you can flip a switch and at once everything makes sense.

There’s this short parable about the reed:

The reed complained bitterly as it was cut by its Owner, but the Owner just kept on cutting it. Eventually, the Owner stopped cutting and put the reed to his mouth, making the most beautiful sounds come from it.

The reed had changed into a flute, and the pain had to happen to bring about the change …

Sometimes the Lord allows hardship or sadness in your life so that you can learn to trust in Him for the beautiful life that He has planned and put in place for you.

What a beautiful story. I suspect the Holy Spirit needs to give us a lot of wisdom and buckets full of strength so that we can praise and worship in the desert. May God help us.


Colossians 1:21-23


What does your desert look like?

What makes sense?

What does not make sense?


Father, I can honestly say that I struggle in the desert a lot. You know that. I certainly need a lot of wisdom and strength. Please help me. Amen.

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