Wilderness experiences are a part of life. The Israelites knew all about the wilderness. They spent a lot of time there following their release from captivity in Egypt and the miraculous deliverance through the Red Sea. Then, because of their disobedience and lack of trust, they endured another 40 years in the wilderness. There were also the prophet Elijah, Job and in the New Testament we find the familiar story of the Spirit leading Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by Satan.
We are also met with our own wilderness experiences in life. Those times where we find ourselves struggling spiritually, financially, emotionally or with health issues. Some days we just struggle to make it through the day. We may feel exhausted, lost, hungry, confused or forgotten. We may even grumble and complain just like the Israelites did so often. We cry out for help asking, “Why Lord? Why is this taking so long? Where are you?”
I believe these times are not a punishment from God but rather a test. God uses these seasons in our lives to reveal things in our own hearts that could not have been revealed in any other way. It is a time to listen, learn and grow from the hard and holy stretching God wants to do in us. We can resist or we can allow this season to do its work.
Where do find yourself now? Do you find yourself in the wilderness? Or have you been in the past? If not, you will be some day. I find myself wandering in my own wilderness season that has gone on for way too long, if you ask me. Have I grumbled ? Yes! Have I complained? Yes! Am I learning more about God and his character? Yes! Am I learning more about myself? Yes! Am I learning to let go and trust? Yes! Is it easy? No! It is a hard good of learning, reflecting, confession and repenting. It is worth it, because He is worth it.
There are lessons to be learned in the wilderness seasons of our lives if we are willing to lean in, listen, wait and trust. I may be wandering and you may, too. But we are not alone. The God of grace meets us even in the wilderness.
Bare heights of loneliness … a wilderness whose burning winds sweep over glowing sands, what are they to HIM? Even there He can refresh us, even there, He can renew us. Amy Carmichael
Your fellow sojourner, Jennifer Thomas
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