I am excited to share this blog with you. It will address three areas of difficulty while traveling through the wilderness experiences of life. One will be times of waiting on the Lord, 2. times of uncertainty, and 3. hearing the individualized voice of the Lord in our personal circumstances. Our theme Scripture is the story of the wilderness wandering of the children of Israel that illuminated the way into the good land God promised their fathers. A land where they would lack nothing, and eat bread without scarcity. A land flowing with waters, fountains, and springs with wheat, barley, vines and fig trees, olive oil, and honey. How much more is in store for us as we journey through our own wilderness experiences!!
Remembering God in the wilderness is the only way out of the wilderness. How can we remember God during our wilderness experiences? Our theme Scripture says we are to be careful to be obedient as we wait upon the Lord. This informs me that wilderness experiences are not always due to my disobedience. It could be the Lord’s tool to bring me to better obedience. I do not know about you, but I can become bigger than my boots. I can become over-confident after having had a mountaintop experience and come tumbling down due to my fleshly tendency to look to myself. This a very subtle for me. You see, I am not an overtly proud or arrogant person, but I can begin to presume to know the voice of God, especially when moving toward something I really want. I recall my Aunt Mary who was living in New Jersey at the time, and we all wanted her to move to Florida to be with us. She was fond of responding to our relentless pleas with “I have not heard from the Lord yet.” One day, I thought I would challenge her and meet her obstinacy by saying “it can be very hard to hear from the Lord when we do not want to listen.” The only way I knew to challenge her with this point is because the Holy Spirit challenges me with it all the time. We must patiently wait for the Lord to hear instructions. It takes patience to carefully observe what the Lord is saying to us. And sometimes impatience prolongs our journey through the wilderness.
Another point our Scripture makes is that wilderness experiences are times of uncertainty, that is led by the Lord with specific purposes. To humble us, test us and reveal what is in our hearts. Now, this can be unnerving. Imagine the Lord’s hand behind our wilderness wandering experiences. Remember, we discovered earlier that they are to create greater obedience, to prove if we will keep the commandments of the Lord or not. The purpose is further described as a humbling experience that would test our faith and reveal our hearts to ourselves, not to God. Because He knows our hearts, we are the ones that are unaware of the wickedness that dwells within them. Sometimes this requires fasting and praying until we are stripped of self and filled with the Spirit. Uncertainty requires that we come to the place where we understand that we do not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Was this not the experience of Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)? He overcame and can help us to overcome as well. Learning to accept times of uncertainty can bring assurance and confidence in Christ.
Lastly, hearing the individualized voice of the Lord may be an unusual phrase to many. But, as a therapist, I am familiar with creating individualized treatment plans to address my client’s presenting problems. I believe every single one of us will have or have had wilderness experiences. I also believe they come with individualized messages from the Lord just for us. Individualized treatment plans are customized to meet the client’s cognitive, emotional and social needs the same as the Lord’s purposes for our wilderness journeys are customized to meet our spiritual and eternal needs.
Final word. God has a specific plan for our wilderness moments and His plans are never to harm us, never for evil, but to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). I encourage you, my Virtuous Sisters, to remember this whether you are in a wilderness moment, coming out of one or about to go into one.
Excerpts taken from “The End of Forever” – a book written by Phyllis McColister to encourage, educate and empower divorced and separated women to find restoration and healing in Christ, realizing their intrinsic value to His Kingdom. Coming Soon!!!!
Visit again for more Christian Mental Health tips. Until then, remember your worth is far above rubies and learn to laugh without fear of the future (Proverbs 31:25).
You may contact the author at www.healingwaters-counseling.com