Abigail and Dolley readers I have been thinking about the wilderness lately, probably because metaphorically I am wandering around in it. Now the wilderness of a middle class American would make most of the rest of the world and previous generations scoff at the ease, but God meets you where you are and it doesn't have to be life or death for it to be serious in your life. The wilderness can be anything that leaves you anxious, worried, and fearful and is dominated by the fact that you in your own power can not change it.
In the wilderness, we look around and say if God doesn't show up, we are in big trouble. The wilderness if full of pain. We as humans hate pain and try to avoid it at all costs. The wilderness if full of uncertainty. We like to know where we are going and how we are going to get there. Your wilderness will be different from mine but regardless of the circumstances, walking in the wilderness is never comfortable.
From our perspective, we would avoid it all together, but from God's that is a different story. We are never closer to Him than when we are wandering in the desert. We never rely on him harder than when we are powerless. We never eat His Word and breath His Spirit more than when we are depending on Him for everything. Paul writes that we are never stronger through God than when we are weak. In our weakness, His power is made perfect. So we should rejoice in our troubles because when we are weak then we are strong.
Consider Israel's greatest generation - Joshua's Israel. The first generation out of the wilderness. These are the children that walked through the dry land of the Red Sea and beheld the great miracles of the Exodus. These are the children born in the desert who grew up on manna and quail. These are the children who looked up at the cloud of God by day and the pillar of fire by night. These are the people who the desert stripped fear, unfaithfulness, and murmuring from their hearts. These mighty warriors did not balk at marching around the walls of Jericho at the order of the Lord. These mighty men of God operated in His power. This generation was the only faithful generation of Israelites and they were products of the wilderness.
I encourage you today, if you find yourself in the wilderness consider the good that the Lord is working in your heart. In spite of your fears, trust the Lord to do a good work in you. Trust Him to see you through this trial. Hold on to the hope that we are at our strongest and most faithful when we emerge from the wilderness. Cast your anxiety upon the Lord, for He loves you. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and with all your mind, lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge the Lord and He will direct your paths. For we are not given a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Fear not, for He is with you always, even until the end of the age.
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