What You Realize in the Wilderness
Dr. Ron Hall, one of my professors at the University of Valley Forge, described wilderness seasons as, “Life is hard and God seems far.” It’s a time in your life when the cylinders stop rather than go. It can seem that the places you invest in will never grow. It includes exhaustion, weariness, worry, disappointment, and possibly despair.
Browncroft, the church I serve, is trekking through the book of Numbers. You become sympathetic to Moses, who has to put up with the shenanigans of the Israelites. They complain and disobey the law. They try to rebel. Besides the repetition of lists of people, the book brings a dark hora over the story of God’s chosen people fumbling in the wilderness.
Wilderness seasons have a theme in the Bible. Jesus experienced the wilderness for forty days in preparation for His ministry (Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13). His walk through the wilderness vastly differs from the book of Numbers. The writers of Matthew, Mark, and Luke had this comparison in their minds.
Our natural response to a wilderness can become to balk or resist it. We find ourselves questioning or doubting the goodness of God.
I have encountered many people who have walked through times where, “Life is hard, and God seems far,” to discover they have more grace, maturity, and even confidence in God’s faithfulness. That does not dismiss the reality of the arduous time in this season but points to a vast view of God present in our lives.
You might find yourself walking through a wilderness season right now. You would describe this time as, “Life is hard, and God seems far.” I want to offer you a few realizations that you can discover in the wilderness:
You let go of things that don’t matter.
God often uses the wildernesses of our lives to address particular areas of our lives that need to go. We re-evaluate habits, priorities, relationships, and aspects that consume of lives. What might have felt important a few months ago, we come to release our grip.
You cherish the people who show up.
Wilderness season exposes people who will show up and those who will not. We have people who we take for granted it, but they are the people who embody God’s faithfulness. Invest in those relationships.
You find joy in the small graces.
It can only go up. The book of Numbers reveals God providing manna to eat each day. Humans are prone to forget. Gratitude keeps our perspective grounded in reality.
You encounter a Savior who walked where you walked.
Even when Jesus seems far, we hold on to the promise that He knows. His experience in the wilderness gives up hope. Your prayers have a hearing with a Savior who has walked where you walked. This promise does not dismiss our pain but invites us to experience His comfort.
You remember the wilderness is a season.
Winters in Rochester, NY, seem to last forever, but they happen for a season. What seems like a time that will never end becomes a sentence in our story later. At the right time, we need to remind ourselves, “This too shall pass.”
What have you realized in your wilderness season? Share in the comment section.
Originally published at https://peterenglert.com on May 8, 2020.