The Spiritual Desert

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  • April 14, 2009

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).

When I talk about the wilderness, when I talk about the desert, what am I talking about? Spiritually speaking, it’s that place where you feel all alone. It’s that place where you no longer have the sense of God’s manifest presence. That is, you know mentally that God is with you, but you don’t have the sense of it. Everything feels like you have been abandoned or forsaken by God.

Perhaps you are discouraged, or depressed. Perhaps you’ve been hurt or disappointed. Perhaps it’s something in your body, some weakness or ailment that you can’t seem to get the victory over. Maybe you’ve been under attack, either from other people, or attacked in a spiritual sense. Maybe you’re just pressed under the weight of circumstances. It could be a problem at work, or a problem at school, or a problem in your marriage. For many people it’s a financial difficulty, struggling to make ends meet, or trying to recover from a hardship.

Or maybe you’ve come out of Organized Religion, and there’s a great big void, a great big empty place in your life that used to be filled by “church”, and so you’re trying to find fellowship, but there seems to be no fellowship. Or you thought you found fellowship in a house church, but you were disappointed to discover that it was not what you thought it would be. For whatever reason it didn’t meet your need. Maybe you don’t even know why, but the point is you’re still seeking something you haven’t found yet.

Maybe there’s something lacking in your relationship with God. He seems distant, or uncaring, or unavailable. You don’t have a sense that you are making any progress. You feel like you’re either standing still or going backward. You pick up the Bible and try to read but you get nothing out of it. Perhaps you keep this up for awhile and then maybe you give up reading it altogether. Maybe you try to pray but it seems like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. Maybe you keep praying or maybe you just give up.

Then perhaps you think you’ve done something wrong, that you have displeased the Lord terribly. You try to confess your sins but can’t really think of anything you’ve done wrong. You try to get back to the way you used to feel but nothing seems to work. Maybe you start to wonder if you’ve lost your salvation, or if you’ve committed the unpardonable sin, or grieved the Holy Spirit so badly that He’s left you.

If you can understand God’s Purpose for the desert, if you can understand how and why and that He wants to prepare a way for you in the wilderness, then I think it will encourage you. Whatever does not kill you makes you stronger. There is such a blessing in the desert. There are things you learn in the desert that you cannot and will not learn anywhere else. But what I see too many times is people seeking a quick deliverance! God calls them to the wilderness, He calls them to the desert, and they resist it, or they go and immediately look for a way out. They don’t stay there long enough to derive any spiritual benefit.

You’re trying to avoid the desert, or get out of the desert, because the desert doesn’t feel good. And I’m saying the desert you’re trying to get out of is exactly the place where God intends to bless you and reveal more of Christ to you!

There are two messages in this series, including:

The Spiritual Desert – 1
The Spiritual Desert – 2

About Chip Brogden

Chip and his wife, Karla, left the religious system in 1999 to serve those who are following Jesus outside of Organized Religion. Today, The School of Christ reaches more than 135 nations with a simple, consistent, and Christ-centered message.

10 Comments

  • Phylis Brown says:

    Thank you for your writings
    This has set me on a spiritual journey
    with the courage regarding Spiritual BABYLON

  • DARLENE says:

    THE REASON I AM READING THIS IS BECAUSE, TODAY THE LORD SPOKE AND TOLD ME “I WILL MAKE A WAY IN THE WILDERNESS.” BEAUTIFUL WORDS, DO YOU AGREE. I ENJOY READING WHAT YOU HAVE WROTE. HOW TRUE THIS IS. I KNOW THAT GOD MADE ME A PROMISE, AND I HOLD TO THAT PROMISE EVERYDAY. WHEN HE SPOKE THIS WORDS TO ME I FELT A LOAD OFF MY SHOULDERS. NOT THAT I DID NOT BELEIVE GOD OR TRUST HIM. I DO! I DID’T KNOW WHEN HE WAS GOING TO MOVE. SO I HAVE WAITED AND PRAYED FOR A LONG TIME. AND AM STILL STANDING BECAUSE OF JESUS CHRIST. THANK YOU FOR THIS STRONG AND TRUE MESSAGE. MAY GOD BLESS YOU!

  • Steph F says:

    thank you for writing this article, it describes exactly how I feel and have experienced and I cannot find away out of my spiritual desert and that is upsetting me. I MISS GOD, MY SPIRITUAL TRUE HEAVENLY FATHER!!!

    • Ali McCoy says:

      Hi Steph, We are evidently being taught by God to come to Him only.
      Unfortunately we don’t see many others go through this learning alone.
      When others won’t do, we are drawn to Him as our ONLY.
      You aren’t without God now–you are being taught to walk by faith and not by sight or feelings.
      HE promised He will NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU!!!!
      We FEEL FORSAKEN but we CAN”T BE!!!! HE PROMISED!!!
      I see your message was in 2010—how are you now?

  • Sharon says:

    Amen !

    Thank you for the words ! Praise be to HIM !

  • Regina says:

    Yep… It’s been over seven years! Everything you say I have experienced – except anger. I am truly grateful that I am alive and I don’t believe – because I KNOW – that God loves me and everything He said is true. But 7 years in the desert is a long time – though it took me 5 years to just sit back and enjoy the ride. I have become familiar with this non-feeling, and I am not unhappy – just…… you know…. blah.
    But Jesus still rocks.

  • Paul Fultz says:

    My close friend sent me to your site, I have left the church for just that reason! thank you for your writings…. I am still sharing the Love of Jesus with others, To a relation ship with Him not a relgion!!

  • Janet Hagen says:

    My husband and I left the religious “matrix” in disgust after 24 yrs. of faithful “good Christian holier than thou” attendance. We are now “unplugged” & misunderstood & apparently “backslidden” & pitied by many old church friends but closer to the Lord than we’ve ever been. The downside is that we were angry..very very angry for a while. There seem to be stages of appropriate & unappropriate grief you go through in the initial “unplugging” process.
    We started a home fellowship with 4 others which has grown to roughly 16 people. Surprise.. (at the 1 yr. mark) this too is not the answer. I was definitly filling the void with fellowship to feel “ok” & “accepted” about not being in “church”. I felt “hurt” if someone decided to not come to our 2nd meeting of the week. I felt “frustrated” that some do not seem to value what we’re trying to “do” & they would rather skip off to the beach that day. WAKE UP CALL: My affections for this lovely group of people has been misplaced. It took a year for me to understand this. One of your articles concerning this set me free!! That religious spirit came with me. Its happy to go with me wherever I want to go..as long as I dont call it out and slay the stinking thing.
    Im obviously in the desert (praise God?) I am DESPERATE for the Lord and DESPERATE for His truth and only HIS truth!. Im sick of reading about other peoples experiences with Him. I want my own experinece with Him, my own story.
    It feels MARVELOUS to not be robotically tithing to the system. Im sick about the large sums of $ we gave into worthless religious programs & pastoral “vision”, buildings, etc….we could have been giving to the poor right in our town. Now Im a rebellious “teen” of sorts to the religious system saying “You can’t tell me what to do…only the Lord Jesus can tell me what to do” It feels wonderful, a bit uncertain and shaky at times. All the obvious familiar religious props have been removed. I liked the props for a very long time. The Master carpenter is tearing down to build up. The season is now.
    After reading the e book “Getting Babylon Out of you”, I was thrilled to see that the Holy Spirit has shown me privately to take so many of the steps you’ve suggested. I wake up every night at odd hours and hear myself say “Lord, PLEASE speak to me..I NEED you!!” I have cried a lot over the last yr. Many tears were a complete waste of time and energy from churchianity religious spirit withdrawl. It truly is a wicked drug. Im trying to find the balance and not discourage my young adult son who love the Lord, attends a “church” but does not understand what in the world is going on with us. Our 2nd son who is a prodigal is even curious as to what is going on. What a crazy wonderful journey we’re on.

  • DEVILLE Sandrine says:

    A description of a part of my life…
    I was so strongly maintained, and and so a long time, in the destruction of almost everything in my life, that I was seeking how to fight satan, how to fight effectively against these actions of Satan ; And you seem to say God made it and it is called the desert?
    I do not understand why God wants that we undergo the suffering of a number of infertilities and destructions in several fields.
    I hope not ta have 20 another years to spend in the “desert” because I was unware that God had put me in the “desert”…

  • eve says:

    Thank you for the book getting out of Babylon or organised church….simple, straightforward, well written…

    i read it and recognized many issues in people that i know…

    i am so pleased to say that i am free of Babylon and very happy within my relationship with God and His Spirit constantly ministers to me and has cont’d to do so over the years… unlike church leaders…He is a very patient teacher and i so delight in HIm and I can say over the years i have also learnt to delight in self, which i know at first read sounds wrong…but this is not so for as i am learning that i am so loved by Him…i find within me a great desire to Love and Serve the Lord in Obedience…which was something that i WAS NEVER TAUGHT IN CHURCH

    though i do attend a church occasionally, my heart is with Yeshua and now i find that i pray for the leadership of this church, and for those within to find a deeper relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. i appreciate the good works of the Salvation Army so i attend their church… :)

    How do i know it is God leading me, well i can tell you…for within me i have found not only a greater love for God for also for the lost and his people…

    And one more thing, as i go on with my walk in Christ i find within this also… I DESIRE TO MINISTER TO HIM PERSONALLY, WHETHER THAT BE IN PRAYER, OR SONG, OR CRAFT, OR SIMPLY READING HIS WORD AND TALKING TO HIM… I FIND WITHIN THAT I CARE FOR HIS OWN PAIN AND REJECTION THAT HE RECEIVES FROM THOSE WHO AS YET DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT HIS HEART HURTS…. SO I PRAY AND DESIRE TO HONOUR HIM AND ACKNOWLEDGE HIS PAIN… SO IN MY MINISTERING I WISH TO HEAL HIM… YOU KNOW LIKE YOU WOULD WISH TO COMFORT YOUR HUSBAND OR WIFE WITH KIND WORDS OR DEEDS.

    the organised church system has damaged our understanding of what it means to honour Jesus… for it teaches us to want from him for ourselves, ie finances, a job, success and so on…. and that is so wrong when it is asked with the wrong heart attitude………it is us that should seek to BLESS HIM with all that He has GIVEN us namely HIMSELF, HIS GIFTS, HIS LEADINGS ETC

    ej uk x

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