Did you ever know that God was asking you to do something … but you put it off?
I have. In fact, He’s been asking me to do something for years now, but I’m going to admit something to you:
I’ve been too scared to do it.
Let me explain: I’m a girl who, whenever I read the Exodus story, couldn’t understand why the Israelites kept doubting God when He proved His power and great love for His people time and time (and time) again.
Why didn’t they just “get it?” I wondered. Why did God have to repeatedly prove that He was faithful to guide them to a better place?
And yet, here I am like the Israelites, wandering through my own wilderness heading anywhere … except to the place that God has asked me to go. Throughout this journey God has been with me, a continual Presence patiently waiting for me to tire of running in circles.
There comes a time when you have to put your feet into rushing waters and cross the Jordan to get to the place that God has prepared for you.
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For me, that time is now.
Maybe you have journeyed through the wilderness. Maybe you are there right now. It is barren and hard, a place devoid of the comforts we have come to know and trust. Surprisingly, it is not a place devoid of God’s vision. If we, the followers of Christ, seek God’s will for our lives, He will give us a glimpse of our own Promised Land —the place of purpose that He has prepared for us: A purpose or a calling that He whispers deep into our spirit.
The Wilderness is a Journey of Faith
When we see a glimpse of that special place, most of us, myself included, breathlessly race to get there. But strangely, God usually takes us on a detour, leading us to a place that we know as the wilderness. So why the detour?
It’s hard to see God’s purpose in sending us to a wilderness when we are in that wilderness. However, when we cross it and think back on those desperate days, we see that God was powerfully present with us. He was there when we discovered honey-flavored manna—like hearing a word of encouragement from a friend—or when water bubbled from a dry rock (Exodus 17:1-7). We learned to understand His ways while our needs were met in miraculous ways.
[Tweet “In the wilderness we come to a place of COMPLETE dependence on God. That’s a precious place to be!”]
If we were to step right into that promised place—into the purpose that He calls us to—then we would never understand what it means to lean fully into God’s power and protection, choosing to forge on ahead of God and without His help. And if we do, we are missing out.
Meeting the Wilderness Enemy
Did you know that we are not alone in the wilderness? Some of the most intense attacks against our faith occur in the wilderness. Jesus was tempted by the greatest of enemies, Satan, in the wilderness that preceded his earthly mission, eventually driving him away by the power of the Word of God. (Write that down!)
I’ve long been interested that the Israelites, too, were attacked in the wilderness by the Amalekites, and they were a formidable foe. The Amalekites attacked from behind, choosing to pick off the weakest members who trailed along the back of the Israelites group. We need to know that our enemy, too, is ruthless and seeks to destroy us.
I call this a “wilderness enemy,” one who comes against us to prevent us from crossing into our place of promise. These attacks often come after a great spiritual blessing, catching us off guard. Think of Joshua’s defeat after the fall of Jericho and Elijah’s discouragement (depression) after the defeat of the prophets of Baal. Jesus, too, was tempted after his glorious baptism. In my own life, I suffered tremendous attacks after Autism’s Hidden Blessings was released! We need to be alert and keep our eyes on God at all times because the battle we fight is not ours, but His!
God chose to defeat the Amalekites in a special way: through a combination of the intense prayers of Moses, Joshua’s leadership in battle, and the intercessory help of Aaron and Hur who literally held up Moses’ tiring arms as he lifted high the rod of God. God’s power worked through them to defeat the enemy.
God calls us, too, to stand alongside a believer in their place of wilderness.
Finally Crossing the Jordan
How long we spend in the wilderness is entirely up to God, but rest assured, every day there has its purpose. For years I have prayed to move on but God kept me in the wilderness. The lessons He taught me are astounding and worth every single day.
So here I am, standing at my own Jordan, shaking as the water rushes by. Water is such a strange element, calm, buoyant and crystal blue one minute, then raging and dark the next. Only God can get me across the banks of these waters … but I’m stepping in.
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So here I go! I hope you will join me on the other side, because I am doing what God has asked me to do: share His messages of hope in a greater way, making it my life’s mission (instead of something I do on the side).
If you have a Bible topic that you would like to cover, please let me know by commenting below.