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Surprised in the desert

After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.
- 1 Samuel 24:1-2
 
A lot has happened in David’s life since he battled Goliath. He married into the royal family. He became an armor-bearer for King Saul. He fought in battles. He aroused the king’s jealousy. He became an outlaw.
 
David ended up in the desert, a familiar place for many on the journey with Jesus. Your best efforts may not lead to the most comfortable outcome. Your faithfulness may be rewarded with trouble. Your attempts to engage the world for good may end with a piece of your world crumbling in your hands.
 
Times like these tend to bring a unique set of temptations. Take a shortcut. Get the right thing in the wrong way. Cut a corner. 
 
Times like these form us. Faithfulness in these times develops within us deep wells of trust: “If the Lord could get me through that, he can get me through anything.” Healthy friendships forged in times of trial tend to last forever. Communities who have persevered together through hard times can change the world.
 
Don’t be surprised if you end up in a desert on your path to doing good.
Don’t be surprised when temptation rears his head.
Don’t be surprised that you grow and your relationships grow and your capacity for love and beauty and kindness grow as your persevere through trials.
 
When have you been in a “desert” season? What temptations did you face? What good and beauty did you see on the other side of that season?

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