When students at The Way of Life Spiritual Development Center in Richmond, Virginia asked the difference between being in a dark place and being in the desert, the teacher had a simple answer.
- Being in a dark place is an expression used to describe the state of a person while he is going through deep suffering and pain.
- Being in a desert or being in a dry place is an expression used to describe a lack of growth and often barrenness.
Being in a dark place is symbolic of being in a hole and cannot see your way clear. No matter what you do you can’t see how to get out of that hole. No matter which way you turn, you seem to sink deeper and deeper. Being in a dark place is equivalent to having only dismal dready days full of black clouds.
Being in the desert is unlike being in a dark place. When you are in the desert, your days are not cloudy. In fact, they are rather sunny and bright. However, you can’t enjoy them because you are thirsty for something you don’t have. The truth of the matter is that something is missing, but you don’t know what it is. You just know there is a thirst that needs to be quenched.
Being in a dark place and being in a desert place are both uncomfortable experiences. In fact, both experiences make you absolutely miserable.
The good news is that you can get out of a dark place and you can get out of the desert. How long you stay in both conditions depends entirely on you.
To get out of a dark place, focus on Jesus being the light of the world. Sometimes, you are so deep in your darkness that there is no way to get out on your own. Don’t pray to ask God to get you out. Pray that Jesus will join you in your darkness. As soon as you stop focusing on what might have put you in the dark place and focus on Jesus, the light of the world, you will soon be out of the dark hole and back to living a normal life.
Jesus said, “I am thelight of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light oflife.” (John 8:12)
To get out of the desert, let Jesus give you living water like He gave the Samaritan woman at the well. When you find youself in a desert experience, it might be because of some sin lurking in your life. When you admit the sin and drink the water Jesus gives you, you will thirst no longer.
Jesus said, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
In a dark place? See Jesus as the light of the world.
In the desert? Let Jesus give you living water to quench your thirst.