In our Christian walk, we all go through times of walking through a wilderness. It is that hard place where you feel all alone. Maybe you have been hearing from God and seeing His work and now all seems quiet, and you wonder where He is. Maybe God made you a promise and you have been waiting so long you question if He has forgotten you. Maybe you are in a time of feeling broken. You had prayed and prayed over your marriage, but it ended anyway. Maybe you have prayed for restoration of a relationship with a family member, but they continue to hurt you or not talk to you at all.
When God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, His desire was to give them the Promised Land. However, He did not take them the most direct path there. Instead, He took them on a journey through the wilderness. At the start of their journey, there were signs, wonders and miracles. On the other side of the Red Sea, they rejoiced and thanked God for all He had done. As they started in the wilderness, they received protection and direction from His cloud covering by day and the fire by night. They ate the manna He provided them from heaven.
In their journey through the wilderness, though, their rejoicing turned to complaining. Those wonders they experienced, like the cloud, fire, and manna, became common to them. They wanted the blessing that had been promised, that Promised Land, but they didn’t want the journey through the wilderness that was needed to get them there.
That wilderness journey has purpose.
That cloud covering and fire taught the Israelites to look to God and always be ready to follow His lead, to move when He says move or to stay when He says stay. Similarly, our wilderness journey teaches us to look to God for direction, to always be ready, and to walk in obedience. God provided manna for the Israelites, giving them exactly what they needed each day. Likewise, God gives us what we need every day. Through our wilderness journey we learn to always look to Him for our provision and to be content in what He provides for us.
As we walk through our wilderness journey, we learn to have faith in God and His timing. It teaches us to not look by sight at the hard things in front of us, but to have faith in God, in who He is and that He will be faithful to fulfill His promises. God will not leave us in the wilderness. He journeys with us to the Promised Land and takes us there in His perfect time.
If you are walking through a wilderness right now, how is it affecting your faith? Are you always seeking out new signs and wonders, but missing the miracles He is giving you along the way? Are you seeking more of God’s hand for His blessing, wanting what God can give you rather that wanting Him for who He is? Or do you seek His face, looking at Him so intently that you are in a state of being ready to walk in obedience? Are you complaining or living in contentedness of where He has you right now?
The wilderness journey is a time meant to prepare and refine you. If you are walking through it right now, here is my prayer for you: Father God, for anyone walking through a wilderness right now, I pray you will remind them to take the time every day to look for the miracles You give them. I pray that they will know deep in their spirit, even when they feel alone, that You are with them every step of the way. Remind them, Father, to stay in Your word because Your word is life to hurting bones. Help them to keep their eyes on You, learning to be ready for Your direction and to walk in obedience. I pray that they will surrender their will to You and let You refine them. I pray they will stay the course, trust in You and Your timing, because I know at the end is the Promised Land you have planned for them. When the times comes, give them courage to step out of the wilderness and into what you have for them.
In Jesus name, Amen.