I was recently listening to an excellent sermon and it provoked me to this thought- What is your day of trial in the wilderness? What real things are you facing right now that you would consider trials?
Whatever it is you are dealing with, you must understand that God has led you to this place. He has ordered your steps and allowed you and even brought you to the place you are right now.
“And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not,” Deuteronomy 8:2
How long have you been wandering? Israel wandered for 40 long years and during that time God made sure they had food to eat, water to drink, and their clothes and shoes never wore out. Those were acts of God’s mercy toward them, for they were wandering due to disobedience.
Our wandering may not be due to disobedience, Job’s was not and so we should not assume that someone who is wandering or struggling is being disciplined or chastised by God. We should never assume they are being punished because no place in Scripture do we find God punishing believers.
Our wanderings may feel terrible and lonely. We may struggle with confusion and deep discouragement and wonder why God would allow us to feel so alone, and so desolate. May I encourage you to take heart, even in the dessert places?
I have found that even in the wanderings God continues to provide for us as He did for Israel. While it may feel contrary to that, the reality is that God provides what He promises to provide. Our problem is that we sometimes begin to despise His provision for us. We grumble and complain that what God has provided is not good enough or fast enough or for long enough, just as they did.
Our hearts are never satisfied with anything, we always want more and more and better than what He provided yesterday. As we mutter against His provision we are revealing a complaining and unbelieving heart. A heart that is once again focusing on self and on the short-term point in time that we know as our life her on earth.
We so quickly fail to understand the wilderness wanderings are designed for eternal glory. They are intended to reshape us, to round off square edges, and to polish off the rough spots that hinder our spiritual growth.
It is in the dessert that we realize what bare minimum is necessary. All the stuff of the world and of life is suddenly very dim and appears so foolish! It is here that we see that all that we truly, truly need is Christ and what He provides for us.
May I encourage you to spread out your arms wide and throw them around your day of trial? May I encourage you to run toward the wilderness? Get out there- alone with God and embrace what He wants to do in your heart and your life. Invite Him to rub off those rough spots and to hammer away at your flaws. It will be a painful time, but well worth the trial. You will return from the trial in the wilderness with a deeper and fuller understanding of Him and of what He wants for you and from you as His child.
I am speaking to you from the dessert on my own wilderness journey. I can recall at least 5 major times in my life where I was led into the wilderness. I went away thinking I was full, but once I got out there I realized how truly empty I was. This time has been no different. Each time God has led me out here, He brought me deeper and deeper out into the place where all is stripped away and there is nothing but Him. Each time I have benefited spiritually and grown in ways I cannot accurately describe in words.
Friends, these times change us. They change us as God as determined and they make us more like Him. Come and walk with the Lord along with me and grow in Christ.
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