Wonders of the Wilderness
- Friday, January 17, 2014
Over the last few years, I have been stuck in the wilderness of life. My seemingly perfect life as pastor’s wife crumbled at the hands of adultery and divorce, and I found myself wandering aimlessly. As I camped in the wilderness seeking his direction every day, I have clung to the promises that God would make this mess work for good for me (Romans 8:28) and that his plans were to prosper me and not harm me, to give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
But, that promised land of redemption so often seemed far away. When would my life regain a sense of normalcy? When would I find peace? When would God redeem the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25)? When would I see the new thinghHe promised to do (Isaiah 43:18-19)?
As I enter this new year, I have an unbelievable sense that the promised land is coming into view. There’s an amazing anticipation that good things are on the horizon. I find myself contemplating Joshua 3:5:
Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”
I have learned to enjoy life in the wilderness, but I know that God has so much more for me. I am excited to cross into the future he has been preparing for me—and I have seen glimpses of what that entails. While I don’t know all the details, it’s as if God has taken me to the top of the mountain to peer into the promised land, to have a vision of what I will soon possess.
As I began this new year, I started reading through the Bible again. I love how God continues to reveal things I’ve missed even after all these years as a Christian! As I read the story of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, I happened upon this verse:
Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years in the wilderness, so that he might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands (Deuteronomy 8:2).
Not only has God led me through all these years in the wilderness—I would have never made it without him—but he has definitely used this time to humble me and show me what was in my heart. I never realized how much pride I carried. I felt that I was above certain sins, unable to fall or be tempted. However, in the wilderness I discovered that I was wrong. I have learned that the only thing that separates me from eternal condemnation is the amazing grace of my Savior. I have come to understand just how much I need his forgiveness—a lesson that I might never have truly understood without my wilderness experience. I have come to realize that my heart is truly deceitful above all else (Jeremiah 17:9). I have learned that I am truly a wretched person without the grace and mercy of the One who gave his all for me.
As I continued in my Bible readings, I came across the story of King David. Here’s a little shepherd boy with mighty courage—willing to face the toughest Philistine warrior. He didn’t come at Goliath in his own power; he came in the name of the Lord! And, what was his reward? He was banished to the wilderness because of King Saul’s jealousy! The promise that God had given him—that he would one day be king—seemed like a far-fetched reality as he wandered through the wilderness.
I had never stopped to contemplate that David spent time in the wilderness before becoming the greatest king Israel ever had. It made me wonder who else had spent time in the wilderness before coming into the amazing promises God had made.
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