In the Wilderness

Tribulation VerseSource

Are you experiencing a troubled time in your life right now?  Maybe from a job situation, a family situation, or possibly you’re just weary from a combination of things.

Well, that was a negative start for something so positive to discuss on this Spectacular Sunday.  I truly don’t mean to dampen your spirits on this beautiful Sunday morning, but hang with me.  We’re going somewhere spectacular.

I’ve begun a new study with Priscilla Shirer called One in a Million.  We’re in the book of Exodus, looking at the details of God’s people being led out of slavery.  Out of Egypt.

Have you seen the movie, The Ten Commandments, where Charlton Heston lifts his staff over the water and it parts into a huge wall of water on each side of a dry path?  I haven’t watched the movie in a long time (years!), but I vaguely remember a brief argument about which direction they should travel.

Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, ‘The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.’  Hence, God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt.  Exodus 13:17-18

In the movie, God was directing Moses to lead the people one way, while a group of men were wanting to go a different direction – a shorter route.  It’s a perfect picture of how it must have really happened.  God knew what was ahead for His people if they went directly to the land of the Philistines.  He knew what their reaction would be.  The last thing He wanted for His people was for them to return to slavery – no matter how wonderful it might look while in a time of tribulation.

The verse above tells us that God led them.  That’s the point I’m getting to today.  He chose the wilderness for them.

God led the people around by the way of the wilderness…

Does God really do that?

When you’re in a wilderness time of life, do you think of it as something Satan has done to you, or something that is happening due to some choices you’ve made, or simply a coincidence?  We see in this verse, that it can be a time God has ordained for you.  Chosen.

He thinks that much of you.  He has such confidence in your faith that He knows you can endure it.  With a love larger than we can comprehend, He chooses to hold our hand and walk with us into the sandy desert.   Dry, hot, windy, waterless, sand-in-your-face, desert.  He is with us, giving us much-needed times of cool respite, water, calm winds, His hand shielding our eyes from blowing sand…blessings.

Have you been in the wilderness before?  Maybe you’re there now.  Have you drawn closer to the Lord through it, seeking Him (and His relief from your situation)?

God isn’t doing something to us.  His plan is for our good – for us to learn something through it…to refine us…to shape us…to improve us…to bless us.

Bless us?  Yes, bless us.

To bless you.

No, I’m not crazy.  He is teaching us to always walk with Him, and to especially realize His purpose for us in the hard times.  When we are in a wilderness time, we need to open ourselves to whatever it is God wants to teach us.  I consider it a time of exploration (of new revelations from the Lord) and a time for waiting expectantly.

Expecting what?  Expecting different ways we will see God working, feel God’s presence, hear God’s voice.

Of course, while we’re in it, we don’t want to linger there.  We want God to hurry up and get us out of it.

I often pray that I will learn whatever it is quickly and not go stubbornly (as I have done before, and sometimes still do).  My deepest desire is to feel Him with me, to follow His direction, and rest in that.  It’s a comfort knowing He’s in charge and His purpose is for my good.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

We can trust Him.

Many times, the Lord has provided far beyond my imagination.  The end results are so rich with meaning that I would never take that time in the wilderness out of my life!  (Have you found that to be true, too?)  He has proven to be the best guide I could ever need.  After the fact, I can see that I’ve become a different person, for the better, because of His love and care during the wilderness.

Hope

Why wouldn’t we trust a God that gives us more than we asked for in the first place?  The journey He chooses for us may not be what we desire specifically, but He sees the end at the beginning.  He gives us a truly rich journey, a perfect journey, in hind site.

Patience

When we take our concerns to Him and He answers in amazing ways, it builds our faith for trusting Him in the future.  Every time.

Prayer

So, I ask again.  Are you in the wilderness right now in your life?  Hold on…to Him.  He loves you and will guide you through amazing lessons.  Rich and perfect.

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Comments

  1. Tammy says

    Kim, Thanks so much for that. I am in a wilderness right now and I do see a reason for it. Sometimes I forget who’s leading who. It is human nature to feel the need to lead making it hard to let anyone have control of the situation. If we trust in him the trip is a lot less difficult. Thanks for reminding me to let Jesus lead me out of my wilderness.

  2. says

    I am walking through a difficult time as I think you know, Kim. Actually it’s been just over a year. This has been humbling to say the least. God is so good through it all. He is able to do amazingly more than we can ask or imagine, but I confess, I am impatient to see the end of this season.

    Sometimes we are in a wilderness that is not of our own making. It isn’t necessarily a time of discipline God has planned for us. However, God does see us through and even more Romans 8:28 is so very true…he really is working all things together for our good. We will be able to look back and see his hand and our growth because of the experience.

    Blessings!

    • Kim says

      Yes, Diane. I have prayed for you and your husband many times. It must be very hard, and I’m thankful that y’all are keeping your focus on God. I will continue to pray for you!

    • Kim says

      Thank you. I’m so sorry about your arm and can’t imagine how you are managing. I’ll check on you soon. We’re praying for you and Mr. Criddle.

  3. says

    Such beautiful inspiration, we all need to remember how much our Heavenly Father loves us and cares for us. We are His and we are perfect in all of our imperfection.
    Wishing you a lovely and Blessed week!
    Jemma

  4. Cathey DeRosa says

    Hi Kim, I so enjoy your site and I always look forward to your “devotions”. They inspire me and I pray that through them you have not only planted seeds, but brought people to the saving grace of our Lord.
    One thing I wanted to say and someone else commented on it, also. I think God allows us to go through various trials and tribulations. I don’t think He always causes or chooses our journey. Satan is the god of this world by God allowing it.
    Sin is always a part of our existence even if we are God’s child. We are God’s children by His grace alone. Our own choices are all part of it. too. God sees the whole picture and we don’t. That’s why we are impatient beings. His time is never ours. Whatever the case may be, God is merciful, gracious and He is our Abba Father, or “Daddy”. “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you”.
    That’s how I look at my Heavenly Father. Whatever the case may be, we can give it all to Him. Thank you for your insights. I love that you love the Lord.
    God bless you, your family and your business.

    • Kim says

      Yes, I agree that Got allows everything in our lives. He doesn’t do anything TO us, but He allows hard times and will use them to our benefit. We suffer the consequences of our poor choices and sins. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Kathey. Discussion and exploration are a good thing, as it prompts us to dig deeper and hear our questions answered by Him. 🙂

    • Kim says

      Sorry, Cathey, I forgot to mention this in my former reply: Yes, I pray I get out of the way and let others see our one true, faithful, and loving God. He desires a relationship with all of us, but He designed it to be our choice. May we all choose a right relationship with Him! 🙂

  5. says

    Kim,
    What beautiful thoughts you relayed here. Sometimes it is so hard to allow God to lead us along, yet He is the one truly in control. Your blog is gorgeous and you are doing beautiful things! I am so grateful to run across you here! Wonderful! It makes me excited about the process of blogging and meeting other wonderful women! Smiles! 🙂

    • Kim says

      Thank you, Elizabeth. I agree! Meeting other women who share things about themselves has enriched my life. 🙂