Pain, struggle, and healing

In The Desert: We Need God Even More When We Are Hurting

Have you ever struggled to draw near to God when you are hurting? Perhaps you are going through something deeply painful right now and God feels so far away. You know that your soul is thirsty, but you don’t know where to find peace. Your heart needs satisfaction, but somehow nothing fills the emptiness. 

You feel like a weary soul wandering in the Desert of Suffering. Trials slam you to the ground in a cloud of dry dust. The stinging sand beats against your heart. Your soul is parched and you feel as though you will barely make it. You need water. Can your soul grow when there isn’t a drop of rain in sight?

The Desert of Life

When we are hurting, the last thing we feel like doing is our devotions. 

Trails and hurt can make us feel far from God. We wander in the desert, feeling unable to grow closer to Christ. The suffering swallows us up, drying up all our hope and energy. To pursue a relationship with Christ becomes overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be that way. God wants us to flourish during the desert times. We need God even more when we are hurting.

It takes a lot more effort to pursue Him during difficult times. We become so weary that the effort required seems impossible to give.

But God is on our side; He promises to be with us! If you look to Him, He will give you what it takes to thrive in the desert. 

“The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived.” Isaiah 35:7. 

A dry and thirsting soul in the desert of suffering is God’s fertile ground for abundant growth. As Desert Roses and daughters of the King, when we are thirsty, we can drink deeply of His word and be filled.

Define Your Water Source

Where do you quench your thirst?

We can attempt to drink the world’s water: the lie of a comfortable life of pleasure and ease. 

We may look to money, friends, possessions, appearance, good deeds, popularity, or pleasure.

But these lies are like a leaky canteen. As soon as you fill it, it begins to drip. It will never last the desert journey. The world promises what it cannot give, but it will never satisfy your thirsty soul. 

Satan wants you to fail, to dry up and give up. He will bring anything between you and the true Water. He do anything to keep you from flourishing. He will deceive you into holding on to sin and pain.

“For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13

The water Christ offers satisfies and lasts for eternity. Earthly comfort, pleasure, and ease are not promised by God. The solution to our thirst is Him. 

This is the promise given by the One who cannot lie:

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

The Purpose of the Desert

God puts us in the desert so that we can clearly define our thirst and find that the solution is in Him. His word is like an oasis, deep and clear. You will find that you can come to His word for relief and for strength.

God uses the desert to refine us. He uses the desert as a place of refuge. Throughout the Bible, God brought His people to the desert: David, Elijah, Moses, the Israelites. He brought them there for a purpose; to realize that they needed Him. You are in this desert to grow.

Tips for Deeper Devotions:

Put your Bible, notebook, and pen in a pretty basket or bag to carry to your selected quiet spot or corner! This way it will always be ready for adventure. 

Dig deeper

  • Map out the passage by drawing lines or circles to connect themes in the passage (print out the passage if you want)
  • Switch your study method
  • Look-up correlating passages and study the biblical history and geography using timelines and maps
  • Do a word study using the original language (Greek or Hebrew). Use a study Bible or an online study tool like the Blue Letter Bible:
  • Study a topic using a concordance 

Be creative

  • Sing a hymn. Choose a heart-song to sing to the Lord. Or write your own!
  • Use your creative gifts to illustrate a verse with paint, pencil, paper cutting, etc. and meditate on it. Or, write out a verse with pretty handwriting or calligraphy.

Use Nature to Inspire You

  • Do your quiet time outside! Go on a prayer walk. Find a special spot to worship the Lord.
  • Search for little gifts of nature that God has hidden for you. Frost, leaves, animals anything can bring your heart joy if you know that God has prepared it for your discovery and delight.


  • Journal your prayer (this keeps your mind from wandering.) Write down praises and thanksgiving.
  • Spend an hour (or more) praying, with a planned topic to pray for every five minutes (research Hour of Prayer Guides and Methods)

Share your Findings

  • Talk about what you’ve learned. Encourage others with the scripture you are studying.
  • Study with a sibling, parent, or friend (prepare for good relationships to form!)
  • Discuss confusing subjects with your parents or more knowledgeable people like your Pastor, a Messianic Jew, or Creation Science Teacher.   

 Drink from the Oasis

“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

We need Jesus as our Oasis in the desert of suffering. 

From one Desert Rose to another, I want to encourage you to pursue Christ during your journey.

Pray for a thirst for intimacy with Christ. There is nothing sweeter than time spent with Jesus. Make your time with Him something your soul craves. It will bring strength and relief to your parched soul. Drink deeply, dear Rose, for the Lord blesses those who desire Him!

Gabriella R.

A daughter of the King, Gabriella loves to share the teaching that the Lord has given her through the joys and trials of her life. The desire of her heart is to grow her love, knowledge, and maturity for Christ and the truth found in His Word.

2 thoughts on “In The Desert: We Need God Even More When We Are Hurting”

  1. Hi, Gabriella!

    Beautiful post! I LOVED the tips for deeper devotions—it was actually exactly what I needed right now!! :))) I have used the journal method before and I agree that it really helps keep my mind from wandering. I also really appreciated your tips for an hour of prayer.

    Thank you for your encouragement!

    In Christ,
    – Michaela

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