Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Desert Experience - God's Way

"Therefore, I am now going to allure her: I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. (Hosea 2:14}

The Desert Experience - God's Way

I have never experienced a desert season in my life like I did two years ago. I have never felt a more dreadful feeling of death and abandonment as I did in the beginning of this process.  I blamed everyone I thought of, except blaming myself.  When we (You and I) make choices in life—I don’t care how old you are, how godly you are, how not godly you are—every choice we make in life has consequences. You make wise choices, you will experience blessing in your lives; you make foolish choices, you will experience consequences.  With all honesty, I was in the desert as a consequence of my own wrong choices. God said, “Don’t.” I said, “I will,” and God said, “Okay, here are the consequences.” At the beginning of my experience, I was  very angry at God, because many unpleasant events happened within one instant to another, from losing my job, getting evicted, broken marriage, stepping down from ministry, chaos with family members, and betrayal of friends – all back to back – Everything and everyone I depended  on and trusted were gone.  We tend to rely on things and people that we can see. God wants to teach us to depend on what we cannot see. That’s faith: to rely on His character, His Word. “Man does not live on bread alone—“but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy: 8:3).

In the desert, we don’t have any crutches, anything to lean on, God strips us. He strips us of pride,  He strips us of self-independence, He strips us from depending on others. We see ourselves for what we really are and sometimes it’s pretty ugly. What we really are comes out and we are humbled and we realize, “O God, apart from You I am a mess. I can’t keep my life together. Our pride wants to keep us in a circumstance where we can manage everything, but God sends us into the desert, where we can’t manage. We can’t make it on our own. The worst comes out and He humbles us. As I said before, in the beginning it was a struggle – a struggle between good and evil.  The first year was a year of exposing, extracting, cleansing, purifying everything within me.  There were things that manifested that I had no clue that lived within me {that is a story for another day}. But after the first agonizing year, the following months were of incredible growth, especially in my relationship with the Lord, but also in relationships with others. God began a time of healing.

I knew that I had to make a decision – I needed to choose my way or God’s way. I recognized that God’s way meant abandoning my dependence on myself or my dependency on others to meet my needs and submitting to whatever He would have for me. I realized that this could have meant even being by myself for the rest of my life. It seemed that the choice before me was similar to God speaking through Moses to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 30:19,20: “ This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your LIFE!

With this experience, I learned that the desert is a retreat into the heart of God. He’s draws us into a place of intimacy so He can reveal Himself to us and teach us something about Himself. God can do anything He wants to do. He can fill your soul with manifestations and you’ll feel great. But, when He takes you into the desert, it’s so He can starve your soul into submission and into obedience. He wants our spirit to rise up and dominate. In the desert, God wants to strip away everything that strengthens the soul. He wants to see your faith rise up so you’re no longer be led by what you see or feel but will now be led by what you know in your spirit. God takes you into the desert to touch your spirit. God takes you into the desert to be alone with you. He wants to take care of you. To prove to you that He can. "This is personal." When God deals with us, His purpose is growth, maturity, and preparation and this involves death to self and to learn to trust Him or to gain more insight into His ways. He wants to speak tenderly to you, He wants to give you your inheritance, and He wants to see you whole (Hosea 2:14-15). These things can only come out of a desert experience.

To conclude: One day the Holy Spirit led me to Isaiah 43:19: See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” As I read it, an overwhelming sense of gratitude humbled me as I also heard him say:  "Your process will not go in vain. I will transform you to be like DeborahWise and Courageous: like EstherTrustworthy and Obedient; like Ruth: Loyal and Submissive. (To God be the Glory!!) ..... As I look back today, going through the difficult, lonely, and painful times, if I had to do it again, I will embrace the desert experience as many times God feels I would need it, because I was  empowered to move forward stronger in my faith and to depend totally and completely to God and God only.  We need to let God reveal Himself to us, seduce us and lead us out into the desert, where He can romance our spirit and kill our flesh!  God knows the experiences we need to make us grow into maturity in Christ,  In our relationship with God, His purpose is to conform us to the image of His Son. And He WILL content to take as much time as necessary. We, on the other hand want everything to happen now, without suffering, pain, or sacrifice on our part. And God’s only response to that is - too bad. Adjust your thinking. I’m doing this my way. Again I say:  To God be the Glory! So, as I continue to walk in this journey called Life, God has prepared me to walk by faith, to trust and believe that through him, I am an Over-comer !
I Thank You Lord for giving me time in the hot desert where I trusted You to lead me to the destination that You wanted me to arrive, while You took care of me and revealed more of Yourself to me. In Jesus Name, Amen!!

Hillsong - Desert Song

Written by Maribel Castillo


  1. Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Desert Experience - God's Way":

    Amazingly inspirational;
    Thank you Maribel.
    May the Lord continue to expand your wisdom, and bless you for sharing with us.

  2. This couldn't have come at a better time! Thank you so much!!! ....Melody

  3. Maribel, you are truly blessed and highly favored! I pray that you will continue to submit and be obedient to the word of the Lord...Owen