LPNI DevotionJune 2016


Shade in the Desert


Each of us has our walks in the “desert”.  Deserts are those times when life is challenged.  The degrees may vary, but our times in the desert can make us hot, thirsty, lonely, fearful, uncertain, and vulnerable.  Our desert place may be job- or health-related.  It can result from relationship challenges or losses, spiritual concerns or personal failures.  Two things are certain about the “deserts” in our lives:

1) They will happen; and 2) God is with us to help us and guide us.


We just finished a Bible study from Ray Vander Laan called “Walking with God in the Desert”.  I highly recommend it.  We found a couple of things particularly helpful.  The deserts or wildernesses the Children of Israel would have walked through are not what we typically think of as flat open deserts of sand. Instead, they are filled with rocks, mountains, sparse vegetation, narrow paths and limited visibility.  One of the plants that can grow there is the broom tree.  It provides just enough shade to find some relief from the scorching heat.


In Psalm 121:5-7 we read:  The Lord watches over you, the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life.


The Lord is like a broom tree in the “deserts” of life.  He does not always provide an easy path, but he does provide enough shade so we can take the next step.  With “the rocks and mountains” one can rarely see what is ahead as one walks the narrow paths.  Small rocks may make one stumble, large rocks may block short-range vision, and the trail may pass by mountains that completely make the way ahead uncertain.


We tend to expect God to provide us with everything we want, to alleviate all barriers from life, and to make our vision of the future completely clear and unobstructed.  What we need, though, is His presence, each step of the way.  In our “deserts” we can learn that God provides us with just enough to make it a bit further down the path that He has in mind for us.  I can tend to look ahead into the unknown in fear instead of taking the next step in confidence, knowing the Lord is mindful of my needs and has promised to be with me.  His very name is Immanuel, “God with us”.


In the “desert heat” that you may be going through, you will be thirsty for relief.  That’s why the promise of Jesus to be “living water” is so wonderful.  He doesn’t provide us with muddy, stagnant water whose relief is questionable, but with a never-ending source of clean, flowing “water of life”.  He will refresh you, sustain you and guide you moment by moment, step by step!


Jesus says, If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink (John 7:37).  He also says (Mark 9:41), Anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.  What a blessing to not only have our “thirst” quenched by Jesus in the “deserts” of our life, but to have such an ample supply to share with others!


God bless you with just enough “shade” and “living water” to share as you travel through the “deserts” of life, knowing deeply His presence and care all the way.


Rev. Fred Zimmermann

Pastoral Advisor for Parish Nursing, Board Member of LPNI