Exactly three years ago today, my brother and I drove our tan Chevy Cavalier out of the garage and into the pouring rain. In the trunk was our luggage, and wedged into the back seat was a bicycle I had just been given. We waved to a teary family and began the two thousand mile drive to West Coast Baptist College.
That was an eventful trip—full of significant “firsts.” It was the first time I had been west of Kansas, and it was the first time either of us had seen the Rocky Mountains up close. They were breath-taking. We even pulled over and improvised a thirty minute hike. We also met my great uncle and aunt for the first time. We toured their ranch on quads and enjoyed their gracious hospitality as we got acquainted.
But to me, the most memorable moment of that trip occurred within thirty miles of our destination. Actually, it was a statement Daniel made that stuck in my mind.
I knew the college was located in the desert, but until you’ve actually been to the desert, the word desert doesn’t mean anything—except maybe a vague idea of lots of sand.
But with three days and two thousand miles behind us, we experienced the desert for the first time—barren expanses of Joshua trees and tumbleweeds. This would be our new scenery.
Frankly, it was a bit of a shock. I love the Midwest. When we left three days earlier, we drove away from luscious fields of precisely planted rows of corn and soybeans. The crops were just ready for harvest—my favorite season.
Now, in a moment of exhaustion, we realized that what we saw out our window was pretty much going to stay the same—flat, monotonous, and lifeless.
Looking out the open window (our air conditioning had given out the day before), Daniel said, “What have we gotten ourselves into?!”
I was looking out of my window too, but I didn’t answer him. I didn’t want him to know I was crying! I knew he was half-jesting. But I think we both felt a bit overwhelmed just then.
As I said, that was three years ago.
And now, well, I never ask that question anymore. Today, when I look back on that long trip and the overwhelming moment of desert realization, I marvel at what God has done in these three short years.
He’s allowed me to study at and graduate from West Coast Baptist College—learning both in and out of the classrooms from godly, dedicated Christian professors.
He’s allowed me to plunge into a variety of different ministries of Lancaster Baptist Church—actually having the opportunity to be part of the fruit He is giving here in the desert. In the nursing home, bus classes, the dorms, and teen classes, I’m thankful for the lives He’s allowed me to invest in.
And He’s allowed me to serve with Striving Together Publications—doing what I love to do and growing in the very areas in which He has gifted me.
Sometimes I still feel a moment of shock about me in the desert. But it’s different from the one I felt in the hot car viewing the desert for the first time. The shock I feel now is the kind that makes me pinch myself and say, “Wow! What has God allowed me to be a part of?! I’m so thankful for what He got me into!”
I’m thankful that I know and serve a God who delights in ordering my steps—bringing His perfect plans for my life into beautiful fruition. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” (Psalm 37:23).
Are you traveling through a desert? Have you acted in faith but are now wondering what you got yourself into? When you are tempted to question God’s leading in your life, just remember that He truly does have good things in store—in even the most desolate appearing places!