Lessons in the Wilderness

What is the wilderness, anyway? Some describe it as a period of time when God reveals our unGodly desires so that we will intentionally place Him above the things of this world. I guess you could say it is like a training period for whatever is coming next in life. No matter what, prayerfully, we will grow spiritually through it and our relationship with our Savior will be our rock. Not the things of this world.

When you’re in the wilderness, it’s like you wake up and realize that something is different. Maybe your world has been turned upside down, or perhaps it was you that changed. Whatever the case, Jesus seems quiet and distant. You begin to wonder what your purpose is. Questions like these surface: Is Jesus finished with me? Has my sin been too great? It’s not exactly a fun place to be, but hang on — He’s NOT finished with you.

Yes, I’ve been there. The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize it until I was near the end of my time spent in what I call the wilderness. That’s when I finally asked, “Jesus, what are you teaching me?”

I’m not an expert on this, but I do know that Jesus has a way of getting our attention, and what speaks to one person may not work with another. I think it may depend on how mature and obedient we are — spiritually speaking.

For example, If you’ve ever been a substitute teacher, then you know what happens when students realize their teacher isn’t going to be there and that they have a substitute teacher. I have learned from experience that the sub will see within minutes who is going to test them and who will be obedient no matter what. The same with God’s children. We either strive to be obedient, or we don’t.

Sin. Probably the only time we bring it up is when we talk about someone else’s sin. Am I right? “Did you know that so and so did this?” One thing for sure, we most certainly don’t like to tell others that we struggle with it. However, we were all born with it. The good news is there is a way to take care of it.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Its symptoms may not seem obvious at first, and If left untreated, it can take over your mind and your heart and possibly separate you from your family, friends, and your Savior.

If you find yourself in the wilderness, hold on. Take note of the messages God is trying to send you. Don’t ignore Him. This might be the most important part of your Christian life. Just listen.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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