Red brown sky hurried toward the hillside, dimming the sun and filtering silt into his lungs. It was his first dust storm, complete with grit in his teeth and a queasy belly. Like Noah’s dove, he wandered, looking for a place to call home in the barrenness of mesquite, rattlesnakes, and dust storms.
It didn’t take long to measure his losses. No more cushy comforts of the palace, no servants to anticipate his every desire. No one recognized him. That was good, because he’d been chased, not sent, far from everyone and everything he knew. One angry blow, one botched attempt to set things right sent him running as a one time friend pursued him with murder on his mind. All the training in education, warfare and relating to royalty didn’t mean much to this new assignment with a bunch of smelly sheep. He brought nothing to the desert with him, except the failure that loomed larger than any invading dust storm.
God gave us Moses, a real person, as a model for us. Moses didn’t know his life would become a picture. What only takes a few chapters for us to read, required a lifetime for him. Blood, sweat and tears are summed up in a few sentences. But the forming of a deliverer is a process God wants us to understand. He doesn’t want us stuck. He wants to encourage us, even when mistakes and screw-ups propel us to a place we didn’t plan to be.
A desert season is hot, uncomfortable and filled with regret. Shame hovers like a cloud. But in the hidden place of the heart, the Lord is preparing a recovery far deeper than we imagined. The result is a person who doesn’t have all the answers, but is willing to become a part of His answer. A private work formed in isolation becomes a public response – His answer to the cries of hurting people.
Unexpected and uninvited, transition is change that moves us forward. It doesn’t always look like progress. We aren’t the Lone Ranger galloping in on a white stallion named Silver. Growth pains are real as we stretch inwardly into a new identity we’ve never seen. The familiar beckons with a sweeter gleam as we cry, “What the heck?”
It’s a lot like making homemade bread. The grain is crushed and the nutrient rich germ is pressed into unity with the right mix of ingredients. Pressure, then heat, form a delicious loaf that smells good and satisfies our hunger. We don’t have all the answers, either. But we smell that bread baking. It is the aroma of His promise to a hungry world.