We read in Revelation 12 that, “The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.”
I believe the secret message for us in this is that in the desert of persecution God prepares for us a place of protection. The 1,260 days represent a period of time during which Satan is persecuting the Church. 1,260 days is three and a half years. Seven years would be a complete period of suffering. Thus, 1,260 days represents a complete period of suffering cut short by half. This shows us that even in suffering God is merciful to us. God will not let us endure suffering longer than we can bear. (See 1 Corinthians 10:13.) God’s protection will last as long as Satan’s persecution lasts.
Notice that God prepares a place for the woman to be taken care of. The desert represents a place of spiritual refuge and protection from Satan. Because the Lord aided the woman’s escape into the desert, we can be sure that God will provide security for us. Satan always attacks Christians, but the Lord keeps us spiritually secure. Some of us may experience physical harm, but the Lord will protect us from spiritual harm. The Lord will not allow Satan to take the souls of those who belong to him. Satan can only do to us what the Lord allows, and the Lord has our best interests in mind, even while he allows Satan to bring suffering. However strong Satan’s opposition against us may become, and however fierce our sufferings may be, we are always under the Lord’s protection and therefore we cannot ultimately be destroyed or overcome by Satan.
Jill Briscoe tells the following story….
Though I was barely 6 years of age, I well remember sitting by a roaring fire on a Sunday during World War II. Our family had fled the bombs that rained down on us one night, chasing us hundreds of miles away to the beautiful English lake district—William Wordsworth country.
The mists were gone, and a storm had broken over our heads. The rain, like giant tears, slashed against the window pane, and the thunder grumbled away as if it were angry it had to hang around all day. I didn’t like storms, and I was old enough to understand that a bigger storm was raging, a war involving the entire world. But at the moment, it seemed far away. The fire was warm, and my father was relaxed, reading the paper, sitting in his big chair.
Suddenly, as if he were aware I needed a bit of reassurance, he put down his paper and smiled at me. “Come here, little girl,” he said in his quiet but commanding voice. And then I was safe in his arms, lying against his shoulder and feeling the beat of his heart. What a grand place to be. Here I could watch the rain and listen to the thunder all day.
I’ve realized how my heavenly Father shelters me from the storms of life. When times of sorrow swamped me at my mother’s funeral, I sought the reassurance of my Father’s presence. When winds of worry whipped away my confidence as I faced gangs of young people in street evangelism, I glanced up to see my Father’s face. When floods of fear rose in my spirit as I waited in a hospital room for the results of frightening tests, I sensed my heavenly Father saying, “Come here, little girl.”
I climbed into his arms, leaned against his shoulder, and murmured, “Ah, this is a grand place to be.”
And as I rest in that safe place knowing that my Father is bigger than any storm that beats against the window pane of my life, I can watch the rains and listen to the thunder, knowing that everything is all right. Here I can feel the beat of my Father’s heart.
Is Satan buffeting our lives with many storms just now? Is fear rising in our hearts as we experience the thunder of painful circumstances? If so, then perhaps what we need to do is to crawl into our heavenly Father’s lap and call out to him in prayer. Perhaps we need to let God comfort us through his words in the Bible. Perhaps we need to take up that book and read it as his love message to us, his fearful children. God may not take away the storms in our lives. In fact, God may have allowed these very storms to come so that we would rush into his loving arms once more. We need to let the Lord be our place of protection. We need to let him teach us through all the trials of life that He is greater than the one who is in the world.