Sometimes life doesn’t always go as planned. You walk through a door and it seems like life took a wrong turn. You found yourself in the desert. A drought of epic proportions. And adversity is on every side.
I love Psalm 84:5-7 where it says, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You;” You are not in the desert to die, you are in the desert so God can show you a new way to live. “Whose heart is set on pilgrimage;” Some droughts are short, some can be longer. Don’t give up! You have grace for today. “As they pass through the Valley of Baca;” The Valley of Baca this scripture speaks of was desert country. It was filled with thorns, wild animals, vipers, and all kinds of danger. It was nearly impossible to travel through this valley without extreme hardship and suffering. Yet this valley was the only passageway into the high hills where Israel’s Cities of Refuge was located. Some scholars state the Valley of Baca was also representative of the valley that led to the city of Jerusalem, where the temple of God was found.
When we’re going through a drought we have three options. We can look down. That’s not good because we only see the ground. We can look straight ahead. That’s better, but the human eye can only see so far. Or we can look up. When we look up, we look to God. God sees what we could never see. He sees the City of Refuge and will give us faith to keep walking until we get there.
The scripture goes on and says, “They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength;”
Some of you are facing difficult struggles right now. Some of you have been in droughts in relationships, with sickness, the death of a loved one, your children are struggling, you’re facing financial issues, loss of a job, being faced with overwhelming obstacles for months and maybe even years. You’ve forgotten what rain tastes like.
When you’re facing adversity, I believe there are two things that can bring you out of the drought and into an abundance of rain: pray bold prayers and speak the Word of God.
Psalm 34 says, “I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me.” Psalm 22 says, “They cried to You and were saved, in you they trusted and were not disappointed.”
Droughts are not the time to complain, they are the time to proclaim. There is no power in complaining. Complaining is the language of the disempowered. When God was bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the promise land, the trip was only supposed to take 11 days. But the children of Israel began to complain and murmur, and what was only supposed to take 11 days took 40 years.
When we’re facing adversity, initially we might need to have an emotional release of feelings so we can get it off our chest. But let me encourage you not to stay in the land of complaining and murmuring. Like the children of Israel it will take you nowhere. Begin to pray bold prayers.
There is a story in Jewish history that my friend Mark Batterson shares in his book, The Circle Maker. It’s the story of how one man dared to pray bold prayers and became a legend to his people. Mark writes:
It would be forever remembered as THE DAY. In 1000 BC a drought had been going on for over a year. Leaders had tried different methods to call down rain from heaven. No rain.
When rain is plentiful, it’s an afterthought. During a drought, it’s the only thought.
With a six-foot staff in his hand, an eccentric sage named Honi went to the middle of the town square and began to turn like a math compass. His circular movement was rhythmical and methodical. Ninety degrees. One hundred eighty degrees. Two hundred seventy degrees. Three hundred and sixty degrees. He never looked up as the crowd looked on.
Honi called down rain: “Lord of the universe, I swear before Your great name that I will not move from this circle until You have shown mercy upon Your children.”
Then it happened.
Honi prayed again….”Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain that will fill cisterns, pits, and caverns.”
The sprinkle turned into such a torrential downpour, no raindrop was smaller than an egg in size. Honi stayed and prayed inside his protracted circle.
Once more he refined his bold request: “Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain of Your favor, blessing, and graciousness.”
It began to rain calmly, peacefully. Each raindrop was a tangible token of God’s grace, healing, hope, love, peace.
What am I saying?
Pray bold prayers. Our God is a big God, so don’t be afraid to draw big circles. Pray bold prayers, not weak prayers. Weak prayers are “just get by” prayers. When you’re in the desert you don’t need to just get by, you need I Declare, He Is Able, prayers.