Intimacy with God is a funny thing. When we begin to abide in Yeshua, truly abide in Him, often we go it alone. Even those in our family or our circle of friends who profess Christ don't want to jump off the deep end with you. The price we pay for loving God above and beyond anything else in this world is setting ourselves apart from the world. In that way, we become lonely, weary sojourners on a road less traveled.
We leave our comfort zones to wander into the desert in search of God's Greater Truths, His Pearl of Great Price. Most people feel as if their spiritual walk is a dry, dusty desert. The presence of God doesn't fall on us nearly enough. Is He even listening? How can we be sure? We certainly don't feel Him in us, around us, through us.
But God, in His wisdom, has designed our relationship with Him in such a way that we must seek Him. He promises to be found, but we must first seek. We must first knock. We must first ask.
God wants to be known. He doesn't hide Himself in the shadows so that we will never know Him. Scripture tells us in Proverbs 25:2: "It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out." He wants us to find Him. And in Christ, we are kings! A royal priesthood! As the Head of the Body, He is therefore King of kings over us all. But many don't know or don't understand why we must search and seek out God, and why, at times, He is so hard to find.
It is the same with our Lord.
God takes us into the wilderness to bring us to our knees. He strips us of our pride, self-righteousness, doubt, and fear, until we have no other choice but to fall on our knees in surrender. But this is not an evil act. No. It's an act of love.
It is in those dry, desolate times when you realize the only Living Water is from Him. It is in the valley of the shadow of death you realize the only life is from Him. It is when you're starving and wasting away that the only thing that satisfies is the Bread of Life. I daresay we grow closer to God in our pain than in our pleasure. No one falls to the ground, panting after God desperately at a wedding feast. No one hungers and thirsts for Him at a rockin' party. Your cares are frivolous and vain in those moments, with hardly a thought of the blessings before you. All is well. There is no need to seek.
But in the wilderness, you don't take anything for granted. You realize just what He's given you that you now lack. You find that any worth you have is found in Him, any hope you have comes from Him, and every single breath you take was ordained by Him as the Ruler and Sustainer of the universe.
It is only when our pride and vanity are stripped away that we can truly seek God, and likely He can only be found in the wilderness. And yet, when we enter our prayer closets alone with God and come before His presence as the priests Christ created us to be, we come to a sparkling oasis. The water is crisp and clean, the breeze is cool, and the shade is refreshing. His peace washes over you and you take it in, soaking up His goodness into the very marrow of your bones. In His presence, you become like a lizard, sunning itself on a rock, taking in the warmth, the glory, and the beauty of the Son. His Spirit fills you like water and you overflow, pouring out His goodness onto others who are parched as you once were.
But even so, we are still in the wilderness. We are still alone in our endeavor to know God to His fullness. It can be a very lonely business, seeking God. Most folks are content to skirt the desert. They're not mad enough to wander in! They'll be called back by friends, or worse, scoffed at for even daring to strike off on that harrowing journey. The desert, you see, is not a very popular place.
However that is where God places us when we wish to go deeper, when we want to know more, when our hearts overflow with love for Him, when we need Him in our lives, when we have nowhere else to turn, we are alone....and yet....not alone. The Lord is our shepherd, we shall not want. He makes us lie down in green pastures, He leads us beside the still waters -- He restores our souls.
When we find God, we've found the oasis in the desert. We've found the peace and joy that comes in knowing Him. But that oasis is still in the dunes, set apart from the world. Hardly anyone finds it before giving up and turning back. But once you find it, you don't want to leave. He teaches you there. He loves you there. He reveals Himself to be all that He's promised - and that's true intimacy. That's getting to know our glorious God.
When I'm in God's presence, there's nowhere else I'd rather be. It wasn't long before I understood that the true desert is this world, not my search for God. The true desolation is a life lived without Him. Yeshua is the Shining Oasis Who saves our lives, our souls, and our hearts. Once I realized this, I further understood St. Paul's words in 1 Thessalonians 5:17: "Pray without ceasing".
Amen! May we never leave our Shining Oasis once we've truly and completely found Him.