Through the Desert

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“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the doors will be opened to you” (Matt 7:7). At the beginning of this year I started praying for faith. I believed the gospel, I loved Christ, but I wanted more. I wanted to be convinced. I wanted to believe God’s truth with a confidence that was deeply rooted in my soul. So I prayed! I asked, and what did I get? Doubt. 

That was four months ago. Maybe for some that seems like no time at all because they’ve been in the desert for years, but this was a new season for me. Spending four months feeling distant from my best friend was exhausting. It scared me, too. How could I doubt God? Was I really a Christian? It was then that God started pointing me back to passages in the Bible where people were wandering in the wilderness. 

The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years before they reached the promised land, and while they were there, God did incredible signs for them. He sent plagues to Egypt, parted the Red Sea, led them using a cloud of fire, poured manna from the sky, and even though they had witnessed all of this, they doubted Him. It was a strange comfort to me to realize that God chooses doubters. He chooses weak people. He chooses the least of these, and I knew that He wouldn’t abandon me just because I wasn’t trusting Him. It didn’t make me feel better about doubting Him, but it did remind me of the importance of weakness. 

That’s how we came to an understanding of the gospel, isn’t it? We all had to recognize that we were weak. I mean, the gospel isn’t “good news” if we don’t recognize that we’re broken people in need of a Savior. And yet, somewhere along the way, I started to think that the message of the gospel was elementary. I thought I could move past it, but we never move past it. We come broken before the cross, and we remain broken there. Yes, He fixes us and cleans us, but the farther I walk down this path, the more I realize how desperately needy I am. It wasn’t a one-time fix. I didn’t need salvation and “now I’m good.” I need his grace every day, because every day I see a deeper picture of my sinfulness. 

So through my semester of walking in the desert, I was pushed to see my sin in a new light. I saw His goodness in a new light as well. I may have prayed for faith and received doubt, but because I wrestled through it, I now have a deeper understanding of His love. The fact that God chooses sinners to be on his team is GOOD news indeed. So let it be a comfort to you. No matter how broken, how far gone, how doubtful you feel, He has chosen you. There is great freedom in that. All because He looked on us and smiled. 

-Alyssa McNaughton