Woo-hoo for the Wilderness!!! – 3/10/12-Mema JeanneHow neat that on today-my 62nd birthday- I can give glory to God for He has kept me in a wilderness for His purpose just as He did with the Israelites for 40 year. Just as they journeyed to different wildernesses during that time: they camped on the edge of the wilderness, into the wilderness beyond, in the wilderness of Sin, in the wilderness of Sinai, and in the wilderness of Zin, so I have realized that I, too, have been in several areas of wilderness during my 62 years of living. Unlike the Israelites, I am not a camper!!!! 😉 I have learned some things about the word, “wilderness”– it is a very real and tangible place whether it is a forest or a desert or a jungle. Used metaphorically, it can be an uncomfortable place or situation or people or things that make somebody confused, overwhelmed, or desolate. Wilderness can be a metaphor for life or our journey throughout our life. As we each look back over our life, we realize that we have been in real places where we have felt overwhelmed, alone, grieved, depressed, confused, and on and on. We could each put in our own adjectives. In each particular wilderness, whether we were on the edge, beyond, or smack dap in the middle, God placed us in that wilderness for a purpose; He taught us a valuable lesson, or He guided us on a path other than our own; He sheltered us with His Holy Spirit when we had periods of confusion, dread, depression, loneliness, grieve, and ……… While we are in a wilderness of our lives, God equips us and disciplines us. God equipped Moses in the wilderness. Adam and Eve were in a garden, a wild place. Jacob was familiar with the wilderness as he fled there to be safe from Esau; he wrestled with God there. “ God prepared Moses in the wilderness as he shepherded sheep for his father-in-law. He also called Moses to lead from there as he hid out and tended his sheep. David was also a shepherd and was also equipped to lead in wild places. Elijah the prophet was also familiar with wilderness and went there by himself to rest and recover from his enemies; he also met God there in the wilderness.” There are many other Biblical characters whom God prepared, equipped, and disciplined in the wilderness.
How thankful I am that He has known everything about my life; He took me through those teen-age years knowing that I did not fully commit my life to Him, even though I called myself a Christian. He equipped me and prepared me to be a basically good wife and mother. Do I wish that I could go back and redo those years to give my children more of Jesus than I did?? Oh, yes!!!! But, He has worked all that out too. I cannot feel guilty any longer, for He knows the big picture. Did I see those times as wilderness periods of my life then? No, but I sure do now!! In this time of my life, He has disciplined me to know that my entire life of traveling through the wildernesses has led me to finally seeing the purpose of His protection of my life in all those years of preparation for the woman I am today—a daughter of the King.
Metaphorically speaking again, I read that the wilderness can be “an incubator for growth and discipleship.” Our wilderness can be a place of growth in our own relationship with God; it can be a place of growth in our relationships with others. In the last wilderness I was in, I have drawn near to Him so that He would grow near to me. In the past 3 years, I truly know that I know and trust and have joy and a blessed assurance in my relationship with Him. In this wilderness of my life, I know that my Redeemer lives and that He will never leave nor forsake me. I have had joy in reading through the Bible twice, thanks to Wendy Pope’s Chronological Reading Plan, I have fallen in love with His Word; I can see the importance of memorization of His Word; I love to really study His Word; and I know that through the time in this wilderness, His Holy Spirit is leading me and growing me through daily trials and temptations. He has brought precious sisters into my life who encourage me daily. I am grateful for my wildernesses and for the purpose that God has had for me in each of them. Praise God that He will equip, protect, discipline, lead, guide, and remain faithful to me in whatever wilderness he places me in next.
Waiting in the Wilderness,