Where has God revealed Himself most in your life? For me it has been in seasons of difficulty and trials. Those wilderness wandering times seem to be when I hear the Father speak the loudest.
Our recent trip to Israel started out in the hot, dry wilderness. This is intentional as the desert is where God chose to form His chosen people into His Bride (Ex. 19,20). In fact, the majority of the Torah-the first five books of the Bible-take place in the desert wilderness (Ex. 15- Deut. 24).
Sitting under a lonely tree in the wilderness of Zin, Pastor Bryan had us open up the Word to Deut. 8, where God reminds His people why He led them through the wilderness for 40 years.
“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way into the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna…to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD…” Deut. 8:2-3.
In life we face difficult seasons and these same truths from the desert remind us that we are His beloved children. Maybe God is revealing more of Himself to you by:
“Humbling you” – The Father uses the wilderness to purge Egypt or the world from us. Our culture bombards us with the lie that self is god-which only leads to chaos. The wilderness or suffering teaches us we are not gods but rather dependent children in need of God’s continual care. It is the humble and contrite spirit that opens our hearts to the wonder of God’s Fatherly love (Isa. 58:15).
“Testing you” – The refining fire of the wilderness displays what is in our hearts. Our response to suffering reveals where we may be spiritually. Too often in these tests I find myself grumbling and complaining just like the Israelites did showing my spiritual immaturity and the need for growth.
“Teaching you” – Lacking water and food in the wilderness was meant to teach the Israelites that their Abba Father was enough; that lesson is one for each of us as well. Our God is one of miracles, He brought water from a rock and manna from the sky to meet His children’s daily needs. He uses the trials in our lives to teach us to trust Him; He is faithful in keeping His Word.
I don’t know about you but I often fail at the lessons to be learned in humbling, testing and teaching. And that is when the Spirit of the Father reminds me to look to Jesus. Jesus passed the wilderness test perfectly (Luke 4:1-13). This is seen best as Jesus took all my failures with Him on the cross and then buried them in the grave and 3 days later the Father raised Him up as the perfect Savior of the World.
The wilderness is used to lead us to Jesus, our spiritual water and heavenly manna, who shouts out His constant care and faithful love for us. No matter what we may face in the wilderness when we seek the face Jesus who dearly loves us, we are able to be more than survivors, we are victors!
Whatever your wilderness, may it lead you to the greatest of all gifts, Christ Jesus living within you, for He is the Hope of glory! Col. 1:27