Traversing the wilderness. I believe every Christian at some point or another will have a wilderness experience. Now the wilderness experience does not include sickness or lack. When the children of Israel went through the wilderness, the Bible says, “their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet swell and there was none sickly among them.”
While the wilderness experience is not pleasant it is necessary to prune and instruct. The wilderness is often the Pre-cursor to the blessing. God uses our wilderness experiences to eliminate mindsets that will prevent us from flourishing in the promised land, to remind us of our reliance upon Him, to humble us, to prepare us for the battles ahead. Don’t despise the wilderness.
As I write this new book, I feel as if I’m in a wilderness. God is pruning some things out of my life so that I can prepare for the promised land. I must rely on Him for every thought, every creative idea, for every sentence. His words are my manna. This process is hard, requires sacrifice and at times uncomfortable. Now some may say, “If it’s hard, then it’s not God.” Well, I think when Peter was imprisoned he would disagree; when Paul was beaten he would disagree and when Jesus was beaten and endured the cross he would disagree.
So why do it? Why try to fit one more thing into a busy and fulfilled life? Because of the promise set before me. Because of the other side. Because He said, “Write.”
The wilderness is temporary. Sarah’s infertility was temporary. The blessing of Isaac lives on today. Paul’s imprisonment was temporary. His writings still speak today. The cross was temporary. The sacrifice is everlasting. We endure the wilderness so we can enjoy the promised land. (And if we are wise, we will learn to enjoy the wilderness.)
Are you in a wilderness today? Take heart. It’s temporary. But the lessons you are learning, the intimacy with God You are developing will last a lifetime and will be a legacy for your children and your children’s children. Your promised land is on the other side. Keep moving forward.
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”
Deuteronomy 8:2 NIV