The sun was melting the flesh off of his bones. The heat restricted his ability to breathe. Dried up, dead plants tumbled by him on a desert breeze. One would think that breeze would help the situation a little. Instead it was like the flame of a fire licking one side of his body no matter how far he moved from it.
Philip turned around in a slow circle, squinting against the blinding light. Why was he here? Why would God bring him to the desert? Was this a joke? A message to Philip that God was leaving him to fend for himself? Had he heard God wrong?
He went over the mornings events in his head again. He hadn't even gotten out of bed when the whisper came. Comfy and relaxing, the instructions caught him completely off guard. The Lord told him to go south towards the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. He didn't receive any more information then that, and since he didn't know how far he needed to go, he left home immediately. He had walked quite a ways before he felt a nudging in his spirit to stop and wait. That had been a while ago.
So, now what?
"Lord, why am I here?" Philip sighed. He had some delicious roasted lamb waiting for him at home.
Still not hearing anything from God, Philip sat on a large rock. Using a twig, he drew in the dirt. He wasn't sure how long he sat there, but eventually he could hear a chariot approaching him.
Then God spoke again. "Go over and join this chariot."
"Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, 'Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.' This is a desert place." Acts 8:26
I want to talk about Phillip again. Just a little more. :)
The Bible specifically tells us that the place God was leading Phillip was a desert place. God disturbs Phillip one morning when he could have been comfy in bed, relaxing with his family, to bring him to a desert place.
Why? Why would God bring him to a desert place?
Because that's where the Ethiopian man was.
Have you ever felt like God has brought you to a desert place? Like life is a desert? Like your soul is dying of thirst? Like no matter how hard you squint your eyes at those cacti, it's not the oasis you've been claiming as a child of God?
God brought Philip to a desert place, and despite that desert place, God still had a ministry for Philip. And lots of times, the people we are trying to reach are in a desert place. How can we reach them if we are swinging from a hammock in our oasis? We have to go to the desert to minister to them.
I love, love, love this song.
We need to remember when God brings us to the desert, it's not to abandon us. It's not to leave us dry and alone. It's not so we can burn and shrivel like a raisin.
It's for ministry. The trips to the desert place are for His ministry.
V. Joy Palmer