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.
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.
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.
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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