I had a conversation with a friend who has been in a very dry season in her life for a long time. It is hard to be in the desert. We long to want resolution,for things to be good again, for God to act. The desert is a place of inaction or so it seems to us. While trips into the desert may be good for us in the long run they are often painful and confusing. I the desert our world is turned upside down and we can begin to doubt the goodness of God. We can begin to call into question Divine Providence and wrestle with God's action in a new way.
As a friend I can't solve the desert place for her. I can't give her any pithy quotes or cliches. Those just don't hold up. It is useless for me to try to defend God. If I try to defend God then I will inevitably have to turn the problem back on her (just read Job). The only way for me to be with her is to be comfortable in the desert. To be comfortable in the desert means that I have spent my own time in the desert and am solid in my own life with God.
She said one of the most profound things I have heard in a long time. In the midst of so much barrenness in so many areas of her life these are her favorite verses:
17Though the fig tree does not blossom,and no fruit is on the vines;though the produce of the olive fails,and the fields yield no food;though the flock is cut off from the fold,and there is no herd in the stalls,18yet I will rejoice in the LORD;I will exult in the God of my salvation.
My friends this is an example of great faith in the midst of doubt, anguish and uncertainty. Nothing but life can teach this faith. To have this kind of faith is such a gift of grace.