Two lane highway through the desert with red rocks on each side of the road

@JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever thanked God for shade? Living in Colorado, where one-hundred degree temperatures are rare, I think I’ve always taken clouds and shade for granted. Sure, they’re nice on a hot day, but they’ve never moved my heart to gratitude. Have you ever asked God to provide shade?

We recently studied 1 Corinthians 10. And our pastor covered two whopping verses before God stopped me. Our pastor reminded us how hot the Middle Eastern desert can be . . . and the Israelites of old traveled in it for forty years. Paul reminds his readers that God “baptized the Israelites into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”

A toddler walks along a dirt path in the desert

Walking In the Desert

My mind immediately traveled to the reality of how hot the desert is in summer. Eight Las Vegas summers acquainted me with serious heat. The Israelites must have been grateful for the cloud cover. 

God supplied food to eat, and water to drink. He knew their most basic needs, and He met them completely. And, God is still in the providing business.

Most of us aren’t walking through physical deserts, but I’d bet I’m not the only one walking through emotional and spiritual deserts. They’re hot, uncomfortable, energy-sapping, and wearying. 

A mule is eating not worried. It trusts God to provide its needs for food.

On those days when the sun of adversity beats down, stealing our strength, there is One who will be our shade

I’m in a time when family situations leave me feeling overwhelmed. With two teenaged boy-men who have made an art form of making Mom feel invisible, the harsh heat of lies sometimes leaves me feeling barren. 

But God . . . He is my shade, the cloud that covers me, that offers rest. I choose to trust God to provide those things that fill the aches in my heart.

When unexpected circumstances are forced into our days and the stress pulses inside, we must remember that God is the shade on our right hand.

When the news touts headlines that ignite fear, God is the One who can douse those flames. 

A refreshing stream flows over rocks and ice

How God Provides

Our Father provides for our every need. Just as He supplied manna for the Israelites in the hot Middle Eastern desert, He offers us His spiritual food. In the world we’re living in, we hunger for God’s word to fill us, to calm us, to enable us focus on Him.

When we’re dry and wilted from the heat of trying situations, Jesus is the water that refreshes us. When we drink of His presence and of His faithfulness, we will be refreshed and ready to press into whatever is going on in our lives.

A meme that says, "When struggles and trials blaze in our lives, our Father is the cloud that covers us with His respite, His protection, and His love." on a backdrop of large clouds above a silhouette of trees

When struggles and trials blaze in our lives, our Father is the cloud that covers us with His respite, His protection, and His love. Our Father longs to provide for us just as He did the Israelites. 

When struggles and trials blaze in our lives, our Father is the cloud that covers us with His respite, His protection, and His love #provision #faith Click To Tweet

Our Role in God’s Provision

But God doesn’t want us to take Him for granted. He yearns for our hearts to draw near to Him, to be humble before Him, to worship Him. He is good to us, and I believe He desires that we see His fingerprints in our days. He wants us to experience His love. 

A dirt path leads between pine trees, a reminder that as we walk forward, we can trust God to provide our needs

We can’t fully experience His love if we’re trying to provide our own shade, our own spiritual food, and our own refreshing water. Sure, we may find lesser things that satisfy for a time, but anything we come up with for ourselves always leaves us empty in the end.

When we look to God to provide everything for us, we can know His shade in our hard desert-walking days. We can’t always avoid the deserts in our lives, but we always have One to turn to for strength and rest in the middle of the journey.

A sunrise displaying God's colors and beauty on a fall morning

As I walk through the heat of my own desert, I’m thankful God provides shade which covers me when friends pray. His shade rests on me on my morning walks when the beauty of His sunrise leads my heart to worship. And in the nights when I can fall asleep, I’m confident even of His provision of sleep. 

What about you? Where do you find shade in your life deserts? What has God’s shade looked like in your life?

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