Survive the Wilderness Seasons of Life
- Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Marian L. Jordan's new book, Wilderness Skills for Women: How to Survive Heartbreak and Other Full-Blown Meltdowns, (B&H Publishing Group, 2008).
If you’re going through a time that tests your faith right now, it can feel like you’re stuck out in the middle of the wilderness, exposed to the harsh elements and feeling the pain. But if you trust God as you endure hardships, you’ll eventually emerge from the wilderness transformed for the better.
Here’s how you can survive the wilderness seasons of life:
Realize that you’re not alone. Everyone finds themselves wandering around the wilderness at some point in their lives. Others are also dealing with whatever form of heartbreak is causing your current wilderness season, whether it’s a breakup, miscarriage, personal failure, illness, financial crisis, infertility, divorce, death, abandonment, illness, unemployment, or something else. Most importantly, Jesus Himself knows what’s you’re going through – and He cares. He suffered a lot during His time on earth, and He’s right beside you in your own wilderness, willing to guide you through it.
Walk through the wilderness of rejection. If you experience rejection, don’t allow it to define your worth. Ask God to help you see yourself as He sees you – as someone who is highly valued. Only God’s opinion ultimately matters, and His love overrules every other opinion, evaluation, and criticism. Jesus knows what rejection feels like, and He is with you in your time of need. Don’t despair. Instead, cry out to God, remembering that His promise never to leave or forsake you. Often, what seems like rejection is actually God’s protection from something you think you want, yet He knows wouldn’t be best for you. If you trust God, He will cause the circumstances of your life to work together to fulfill a good purpose. Don’t lose hope, because God remains in control. Ask God to give you His peace, even when you don’t understand why the rejection has happened to you. Decide to trust Him.
Walk through the wilderness of temptation. Behind every temptation you encounter lies insidious questions: “Does God really have my best interest at heart?”, “Can I really trust Him?” and “Don’t I know what’s best for me?”. During times of temptation, Satan often bombards you with accusations about God’s goodness and trustworthiness. Something vitally important is at stake – whether or not you will still love and worship God n the midst of temptation. When Satan tempts you to distrust God’s character, God watches to see if you’ll believe. Choose to be faithful to God in the face of temptation. You’ll never regret that decision. Also, keep in mind that God is worthy of your worship in every situation, simply because of who He is. When you choose to praise God even while you’re tempted to turn away from Him, you turn a dangerous situation into an act of worship.
Walk through the wilderness of despair. As a believer, you always have hope. God sees what you’re going through, hears your concerns, and understands your situation even more fully than you do. Place your hope in God alone – not in any circumstance you hope will come into your life. If you’re longing for a child yet facing infertility, hope in God rather than your physicians or medical technology. If you yearn to get married but are still single, trust God to lead you to your future spouse rather than placing your hope in your appearance or other efforts to attract a mate. If you want a certain job, look to God to open doors rather than placing your hope in your intellect, talents, or experience. Everyone and everything besides God is unpredictable, but God is completely reliable. Look beyond your circumstances to God. Set your mind on Him and focus on His goodness, power, and glory. Once you make that choice, your emotions will follow course and you will be lifted out of despair.
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