Hello, ladies! Today, I want to talk to you about a topic that is close to my heart: the spiritual desert. You know those times when you feel distant from God, when you doubt His presence and His love, when you feel like your prayers are falling on deaf ears. Have you ever experienced that? I certainly have, and I’m going to share with you how I went through this transformative experience with God.
The Spiritual Desert: When Faith is Tested
The spiritual desert is a bit like a geographical desert – it’s a dry, hostile place where you lack everything. But in this case, it’s not water or food that you lack, but divine grace and consolation. It’s as if God is silent, hidden, withdrawing from us. You no longer feel His presence, hear His voice, or see His signs.
The spiritual desert can have various causes: personal or collective trials, unconfessed sins, spiritual routines, temptations from the adversary… But regardless of the cause, the result is the same: you feel alone, sad, discouraged. You wonder if God truly exists, if He really loves you, if He has a plan for you. You question if your faith has meaning, if your life has value.
My Personal Experience in the Spiritual Desert
I’ll confide in you: I went through a spiritual desert a few months ago. It happened after the lockdown, when everything returned to normal. I felt like nothing had changed, like everything was in vain. I no longer had the desire to pray, read the Bible, or go to church. I felt far from God, and I thought He had distanced Himself from me.
Feeling distant from God: doubts and questions
I had so many questions: Why does God allow so much suffering in the world? Why doesn’t He answer my prayers? Why isn’t He speaking to me? Do I truly believe in Him? Do I genuinely love Him? Does He really love me?
I doubted everything: God, myself, my faith. I felt lost, without guidance, without direction. I no longer knew who I was or where I was going.
The Suffering of Spiritual Dryness
I suffered greatly from this spiritual dryness. I had lost my joy, peace, and hope. I had lost interest in everything. I was bored, isolating myself, closing myself off.
I compared myself to other Christians who seemed so happy, fervent, and close to God. I thought I was worthless, that I meant nothing, that I didn’t deserve God’s love.
The Feeling of Abandonment and Uselessness
I felt abandoned by God. I thought He had forgotten me, that He wasn’t interested in me, that He didn’t care about me. I believed He had more important things to do than to concern Himself with my insignificant life.
I felt useless in God’s kingdom. I thought I served no purpose, did nothing good, had no gifts or missions. I believed I was a dead weight for the Church and the world.
The Emergence of Transformation in the Desert
The Revelation of God’s Presence
A few months ago, I went through a very tough period in my life. I had problems at school, with my parents, with my friends… I felt rejected, misunderstood, useless. I wondered why God allowed me to go through this, why He didn’t come to my aid. I prayed, I read my Bible, but I felt nothing. I thought God was silent, absent, indifferent.
But one day, while I was crying in my room, I heard a gentle and reassuring voice saying to me, “I am with you, I will not forsake you, I love you.” I was surprised, moved, overwhelmed. It was the voice of God! He was speaking to me! He let me know that He was there, that He saw my suffering, that He cared about me. I realized that God wasn’t far from me; He was right there with me in the desert!
Learning to Trust in God
After this experience, I began to change my perspective. Instead of complaining about my situation, I decided to trust God. I told myself that He had a plan for me, that He wanted me to grow, that He wanted to bless me. I told myself that He knew what He was doing, that He was in control of everything, that He was faithful to His promises.
So, I decided to surrender my life into His hands. I said, “Lord, I trust You. Do with me as You will. Lead me where You want me to go. I will follow You.” I stopped worrying about the future, trying to understand everything, or controlling everything. I simply trusted God.
Obeying Despite Not Understanding
Trusting God also means obeying Him. And sometimes, it’s not easy. Sometimes, God asks us to do things that seem illogical, impossible, or dangerous. Sometimes, God asks us to step out of our comfort zone, to give up our desires or habits, to take risks or make sacrifices.
That’s what happened to me when God asked me to change schools. At first, I didn’t want to listen. I thought, “Why? I’m fine here! I have my friends! I like my teachers! I know the place!” I thought it was too hard, too complicated, too risky. But God kept saying, “Change schools.” He told me, “It’s for your good. It’s where I want to lead you. It’s where you will meet people who will encourage and edify you. It’s where you will discover your calling and mission.”
So, I obeyed God, even though I didn’t understand everything, even though I was afraid, even though it hurt. I obeyed God.
Praising Even Without Vision
Obeying God was not easy. I had to face obstacles, hardships, and uncertainties. But through it all, I learned to trust God more deeply. I learned that He is faithful, that He is with me even in the desert, and that He has a purpose for every trial.
So, dear friends, today I want to encourage you not to be afraid of the spiritual desert. It is a unique opportunity to grow in faith and love for God. He will never abandon you! He walks with you through every step of the journey! He is preparing a glorious exit for you! Be blessed!
The book “Desert Peoples” by Philippe Frey
This book has literally changed my life; “Desert Peoples” by Philippe Frey is a book that recounts the author’s journey through the great deserts of the world, meeting the nomads who live there. It introduces us to their culture, way of life, wisdom, and faith. It’s a book that has taught me a lot about myself and my relationship with God. I will share with you four significant lessons I have learned from this book.
The first lesson is that the desert is a place of challenge and self-transcendence. The author describes the extreme conditions of the desert: the heat, thirst, wind, sand, and wild beasts. He shows us how nomads confront these difficulties with courage, endurance, and ingenuity. They know how to adapt, protect themselves, find sustenance, and navigate in this hostile environment. They don’t complain, they don’t get discouraged, they move forward with confidence. This made me reflect on my own trials and how I face them. Do I let problems bring me down? Do I lament my circumstances? Do I trust God to support and guide me? The desert taught me to be stronger, braver, and more confident.
The second lesson is that the desert is a place of silence and solitude. The author makes us feel the calm and peace of the desert, far from the noise and bustle of the world. He explains how nomads appreciate this silence and solitude, which allow them to recharge, meditate, and pray. They know how to listen to the wind’s breath, the birds’ song, the stars’ whispers. They know how to speak to themselves, speak to God, speak to their ancestors. They know themselves, understand themselves, forgive themselves. This made me realize how often I am distracted and scattered by external demands. Do I take the time to be alone with myself? Do I take the time to be alone with God? Do I take the time to listen to my inner voice, the one that tells me what is right and wrong? The desert taught me to be more attentive, reflective, and prayerful.
The third lesson is that the desert is a place of sharing and solidarity. The author introduces us to the generosity and hospitality of the desert nomads, who welcome travelers with kindness and respect. He shows us how they share everything they have: water, food, fire, shelter… He tells us how they help each other, support each other, protect each other. They know how to live in community, in harmony with nature and with God. They know how to give without counting, receive without demanding, thank without forgetting. This made me aware of my tendency to be selfish and individualistic. Do I share what I have with those in need? Do I welcome others with openness and respect? Do I recognize God’s blessings in my life? The desert taught me to be more generous, more welcoming, and more grateful.
The fourth lesson is that the desert is a place of encounter and communion with God. The author shares his own spiritual experience in the desert, where he felt the presence and action of God in his life. He tells us how he prayed fervently, praised joyfully, worshiped humbly. He tells us how he received graces, revelations, healings. He tells us how he was transformed by God’s love, which purified him from his sins, renewed his spirit, strengthened his faith. This made me envy his intimate and profound relationship with God. Do I seek to encounter God in my life? Do I speak to Him sincerely, glorify Him enthusiastically, obey Him faithfully? Do I allow myself to be transformed by His love, which sanctifies me, makes me resemble Him, and lets me participate in His life? The desert taught me to be more loving, more praiseful, and more obedient.
In conclusion, I highly recommend reading this book, which will take you on a journey through the great deserts of the world and introduce you to the richness of desert peoples. But most importantly, this book will help you navigate your own spiritual deserts, those times when you feel distant from God, discouraged, tempted…
To you, my dear friends, until next time!