This is the first of my Mindful Monday devotionals on this blog. I look forward to sharing devotionals weekly in hopes to bless all of you and growing from it myself!
Have you ever been in the wilderness? That place where you’re sitting there wounded and wondering,”Why me?”, “Why is God allowing this to happen to me?”, “What’s the purpose of this?” It seems like everything that can go wrong, will and IS!
Friend, I sure have been through my share of the wilderness and I’ve been there asking the Lord time and again, the whys and the whens about when a time of refreshing will be back around.
I’ve been in and out of the wilderness enough to know that what the prosperity preachers are spouting from the pulpits or TV microphones is a bunch of baloney. The full fat, greasy kind 🙂
God allows us to go through hard times because in going through that wilderness, it teaches us to
look up to Him because we NEED him. We often don’t look to Him unless we’re in a position where we need the help that only He can give. It teaches us to trust Him and develops us into the people He wants us to be for eternity. Remember this life is not all there is. Hardly. It’s the dress rehearsal for eternity. It just prepares us to be eternity-able 🙂 It’s definitely not fun (Lord knows) in the wilderness. Our Lord Jesus Himself spent 40 days in the actual wilderness being tempted by the devil. He went there immediately after being baptized by John the Baptist and just before His public ministry began. When He came out of the wilderness is when He started fulfilling His purpose. Think about that the next time you contemplate the wilderness!
“From God’s perspective, the wilderness is the proving ground of our identities; it’s the place where we pass or fail the test of knowing who we really are. The destiny to which you are appointed demands you know who you are, and identity that has not been tested is not identity at all. Your identity is not determined by what you say or what others say about you.
It has to be confirmed and sealed in your heart. There’s no better place for that to happen than the wilderness.
God has been proving identities in the wilderness for ages. When He took His people Israel through the wilderness in what turned an eleven-day journey into one that lasted forty years, Moses explained God’s motive this way: “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands” (Deut. 8:2, emphasis added).
When you go through a really difficult experience, when you feel lost and alone and God seems far away, you’re in the wilderness for sure. But more than that, you are in the place God has chosen as your testing ground. This is the place where God wants to strengthen you and solidify your sense of identity so you will have the internal resources you need for the good future He has planned for you.
The wilderness may look desolate, but be encouraged: it’s designed to help you grow, and on the other side of this growth process, God has something great for your life. How can I be so sure? Because Deuteronomy 6:23 says, “Then He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers” (NKJV).
God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and into the promised land. That’s the same pattern He uses in our lives today when He wants to lead us into something wonderful.”
–from “The I-Factor”, by Van Moody