Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Walk This Way: Wondering in the Wilderness

No, that's not a typo or misspelling in my title. As I'm wandering in the wilderness, I'm doing A LOT of wondering. I'm not asking why me? or why am I here?, but rather taking in my surroundings and pondering why this place - this wilderness - has been so despised. Perhaps it's because we don't like to wait. Maybe it's because we don't like to feel any sensation other than pleasure, while the wilderness typically holds a certain amount of growing pains. During my wandering and wondering, I've come up with a few points of encouragement. Feel free to adopt them as your own:

1. Forget the negative connotation

The wilderness might be uncomfortable or less than thrilling, but it's a perfectly normal part of the Christian life. One of my favorite verses, Hosea 2:14, speaks of the wilderness: 
“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her." 

God wasn't leading Israel to the wilderness to be mean or punish her, but to get her alone - free from distraction. The wilderness speaks of intimacy with Him. Not sounding too shabby, eh? 

2. Put your thinking cap on. 

Sometimes the reason God wants you without distraction is so that he can teach you and grow you - like the Israelites on their way to the promised Land. He was preparing them for something big and the wilderness was their training. They made a mistake, though, and did not submit to that training. Being in the wilderness wasn't their punishment, having to stay there for longer than he intended was. So spend your time wisely by watching for his lead and submitting to his instruction. 

3. Retrain your brain

I've been thinking a lot lately about why we tend to push away from growing pains. When we lift weights and exercise to build our muscles, we experience growing pains. Why should we expect any different with other areas of our lives? A wife learning to better serve her husband might experience stretching; a mom giving birth will feel pain during labor; a child learning to read might get frustrated as he struggles to learn. These emotions are uncomfortable, but they are necessary and can be looked at as mile markers on our journey. When we feel them, we know we are progressing toward our destination. 

 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 3:14 

If you're in the wilderness, you're not alone! Take this time to enjoy intimacy with Christ. Seek his face and follow his guidance. Keep pressing on!! 

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