Relationship with God requires leaving, letting go, in order to pursue His promises. He calls His followers on a journey that takes them beyond the limits of their sight. Hosea tells us that God will woo us to the desert in order to win us back to Himself. God says: "'Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. In that day,' declares the Lord, 'you will call me "my husband"; you will no longer call me "my master"'" (Hosea 2:14-16)
The healing path must pass through the desert or else our healing will be the product of our own will and wisdom. It is in the silence of the desert that we hear our dependence on noise. It is in the poverty of the desert that we see clearly our attachments to the trinkets and baubles we cling to for security and pleasure. The desert shatters the soul's arrogance and leaves body and soul crying out in thirst and hunger. In the desert, we trust God, or we die.
The Healing Path by Dan Allender, pp. 20-21
"Shepherd," she said despairingly, "I can't understand this. The guides you gave me say that we must go down there into that desert, turning right away from the High Places altogether. You don't mean that, do you?"
"Much-Afraid," He said, "all of my servants on their way to the High Places have had to make this detour through the desert. It is called 'The furnace of Egypt, and an horror of great darkness' (Gen.15:12,17). Here they have learned many things which otherwise they would have known nothing about.
They stayed in the huts in the desert for several days, and Much-Afraid learned many things which she had never learned before.
One thing, however, made a special impression on her. In all that great desert, there was not a single green thing growing, neither tree nor flower nor plant save here and there a scratch of scraggly grey cacti.
On the last morning she was walking near the tents and huts of the desert dwellers, when in a lonely corner behind a wall she came upon a a little golden-yellow flower, growing all alone. An old pipe was connected with a water tank. In the pipe was one tiny hole through which came an occasional drop of water. Where the drops fell one by one, there grew the little golden flower, though where the seed came from, Much-Afraid could not imagine, for there were no birds anywhere and no other growing things.
She stopped over the lonely, lovely little golden face, lifted up so hopefully and so bravely to the feeble drip, and cried out softly, "What is your name, little flower, for I never saw one like you before."
The tiny plant answered at once in a tone as golden as itself, "Behold me! My name is Acceptance-with-Joy."
Much-Afraid said to herself, "He has brought me here when I did not want to come for His own purpose. I, too, will look up into His face and say, 'Behold me! I am Thy little handmaiden Acceptance-with-Joy.'"
Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, excerpts from pp. 82-91
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ...
1 Peter 1:3-7
My "various trials" pale in comparison to the grief and pain I often see around me, or hear about. But, they are mine for now and I continue to pray for strength to endure the "proofing" process. And, of course, as you can see from the above, He meets me every step of the way. Much-Afraid has to make her journey to the High Places without the Shepherd, but with two traveling companions - veiled women named Suffering and Sorrow. When they take her to the desert, she gets and extra traveling companion - the Shepherd Himself. They are then a foursome and she is not only sustained, but changed. Oh, that I might take on the name Acceptance-with-Joy as well!The Shepherd had met me like never before!