I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Christian life. Specifically MY Christian life. I’ve been trying to evaluate my route of recent years. Why has my odyssey gone this way? Why have I struggled at different times and why have other days been easy and inspired? It’s clear that my walk with God has not been a progressively growing and increasingly happy life. I don’t think anyone has that kind of walk with God.
Let me see if I can describe the Christian life from my own walk and perspective. For me, as I walk with God, it seems that my walk looks more life a long walk through the desert with an occasional stop at an oasis for refreshment and rest. An oasis is a strange place. In the middle of miles of sand, suddenly and for no reason, water, trees and life suddenly appear. It’s at the oasis where a weary traveler can rest, get water and gain new strength.
It’s my experience that my walk with God can best be described this way- There are many dry days as I continue to walk with God. All the way I know God is with me and caring for me, but days of joy, inspiration and great victory are rare. Then, suddenly and for no reason, I come to an oasis. It’s wonderful! Refreshment, rest, water and revival of spirit. If I can, I linger at the oasis for a while…it’s such a wonderful place, but at some point I must continue my walk and so I head back into the desert to continue my walk with God.
The oasis is great. They are needed. I would get discouraged and might give up if it weren’t for the occasional oasis, but life with God has to be a life of dependence. It must be a life in which I look to God and trust him. I won’t find that relationship at the oasis. I have to go out into the desert to discover this kind of relationship. It’s the dry days when I learn to trust God. It’s the days in the desert when I look to him to help me and give me what I need for the day. It’s the dry days in the desert when I grow in my faith the most.
Some pray for an eternal oasis. They never want to leave the cool springs, the wonderful shade of the fig trees, the comfort of the oasis. But if you depend on the oasis you will never learn to depend on God. So, off to the desert we are led. Led by God to meet with him there. Dry days when we will find our richest walk with God. As I’ve tried to think through my own walk with God I think this describes my odyssey so far. It’s not glorious. It’s not always full of great testimonies to share. It’s often dry and difficult, but it’s my time with God in the desert where I find an intimacy with God I can never find at the oasis.
This is what I would call the normal Christian life. I think it’s the real life of every Christian. Many linger long at the oasis not wanting to leave the comfort there, but some find a hunger for God more powerful than the comfort of the oasis and so they head off into the desert. It’s there we find an intimacy and relationship with God that will never be found at the oasis. It’s this strange contrast between oasis and desert that describe the walk of the Christian. It’s not always glorious, it’s not always easy. It’s not filled with wonderful stories although there are some. There are days when the best we can say is, with God’s help, we got through the day, but between rest at the oasis and walking with God through the desert we grow in faith. The goal? A walk with God that is lived in dependence on him. As best as I can describe it, this is my walk with God.