Dessert in the Desert

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I’m a terrible speller. I tried hard in elementary school to study each weekly spelling list but routinely failed tests. In adulthood I confess that my poor spelling has often been a source of personal and professional embarrassment. Thank goodness for spell check!

I’ve tried to develop tricks to help me remember how to spell certain words. For example, I remember the difference between desert and dessert by knowing I want two helpings of dessert-which reminds me the word needs two letter s’s.

Before you get bored and turn away from the rest of this article, I want to assure you this isn’t really about spelling. Rather, it is a recognition that one character can make a drastic difference.

Yesterday, as Gary Oppedahl and I sat down to record the latest episode of Curiosity not Judgement (yes, I know there is controversy about the spelling of judgement), we discussed the issue of injustice. Many people have something happen to them that is horribly unfair. There is no reccompense. There can be no appeal. There is no healing to be found. At some point, there comes a moment where that individual must choose between living a life of bitterness and anger or transforming their perspective to experience something better. Can they find the “s” to convert their desert wasteland into the sweetness of dessert?

This is no small feat, and one I would argue takes divine help to accomplish. This is where the willing can be transformed in a “But, God” moment.

I remember hearing a woman’s testimony about her son, who was sentenced to life in prision with no chance of parole. The young man had unintentionally killed someone, protecting the life of his girlfriend. The ruling of the court was final and there was no hope for him to ever leave prision. This mother and son had to make a choice. They could wallow in grief and dispair, or through the power of God, choose a diffent path.

They chose to serve God and others. The mother would sacrifice her time and ambitions to be a regular presence at the prision, visiting and encouraging her son. The son would go on to form a number of ministries, helping hundreds of his fellow prisioners overcome hopelessness and find joy in the Lord.

Not every situation is so dramatic. Sometimes, the injustices that lead to desert wondering have come in small doses over time. The weariness of life has left you parched and longing for refreshment. There may be little hope that circumstances will change, but I want to encourage you with the truth that there is always opportunity for you to change.

This last year presented a number of challenges. Professional struggles, another round of skin cancer, and various trials often discouraged me. I would pray for resolution, only to find the answer was “no” or “not yet.”

My heart’s desire is to be able to live with joy, even when circumstances have not changed. I know this desire aligns with God’s will for me, and in His goodness, He has often given me a taste of dessert while still in the desert. I know that in His power and strength, I can change my outook in any and every situation.

I’m purposing to find the “s” that leads to transformation of all my desert situations. Will you join me? Romans 12 is a good read if you need some encouragement. This will be sweet!

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