Recently the Lord spoke to my heart the words – “I want you to learn to embrace the wilderness” – Not exactly what I wanted to hear, I would have preferred the words “I want you to write down these winning Powerball Numbers!” Maybe next time -HAHA
But the words He spoke to me were definitely pertinent for this moment of our lives. We have been and are in a major transition period of our lives and have no option but to trust Him (As if there were a better option) – I feel a bit like Abram navigating into uncharted lands and just knowing that God will direct my steps, because He promised to! (Psalms 37:23)
So here it is, that wilderness experience. But I’m coming to see it as a good place. Because it’s the place God has me right now, and wherever God is that’s where I want to be.
Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day! Psalm 25:4-5
When we think and hear about the wilderness there are two shining examples – The first being the Children of Israel, just after The First Passover, when they were freed from Slavery and began their journey to the Promise Land! Now we all know the trip took far longer than expected, many theologians say it would have been a 11-17 day trip but for many reasons they were there far longer. One reason was they weren’t prepared to encounter the enemies in the land they were headed to yet, so God in His Mercy shielded them from the fight (for now). The other major reason was their attitudes, murmuring, complaining, longing for the good ole days of slavery?!?!?!? It is amazing how we as humans can miss all that is in front of us because we’re constantly looking back!
When I read about this journey it still blows my mind that they would whine and complain so much. I mean look at all the miracles they witnessed a cloud by day to protect them from the Sun, a fire by night to guide them and warm them in the cold desert nights, bread from Heaven every morning and water from a rock when they got thirsty, not to mention walking THROUGH the RED SEA. Pretty amazing stuff, yet they couldn’t embrace the good for the struggle of the Wilderness. (sounds familiar doesn’t it.)
Then there is Jesus, who right after His Baptism (Which was one killer moment!) was led by the Holy Spirit to the wilderness to fast and face the Devil(Not sure which is worse lol) Yet Jesus never complained even though He left Heaven for this fallen world, took on the form of humanity, didn’t eat for 40 days and knew all He would endure for the same ungrateful people He witnessed in the desert many years before. So why didn’t it phase Him? The obvious answer is – He’s Jesus! But it’s deeper than that, it’s because He knew His purpose, He knew this World was not His home (Heaven is far better), He knew that His sole purpose on this Earth was to do the Will of His Father. I think this is our KEY!
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
If I can take my eyes off of me for a moment and see God’s plan is the ONLY Plan that really matters then the wilderness is not so bad. After all the Holy Spirit led Jesus there, not the Devil, so there is purpose in the wilderness. One of the meanings for the Greek word for wilderness is “a solitary place, free from disturbance.” In a world that consumes our time, a place free from disturbance sounds like a place God might call us to. Because in the end it all comes down to remembering our “First Love” and sometimes it takes the wilderness to refocus us on what really matters.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to stay in the wilderness any longer than necessary! But I do want to embrace this moment so I can cross over into the Land the Lord Promised me, a land where His Presence consumes all I am and His Power is always on display in and through me. Jesus came out of the wilderness and started preaching and demonstrating the Kingdom – so let’s just follow His lead.
**Note if you’re in the Wilderness right now – keep your head up and keep moving! It’s only a season and if you Keep You Eyes on Jesus you’ll come out better than when you went in!
As Winston Churchill said – “If you’re going through Hell Don’t stay there”