Imagine a dark forest abundant with trees so tall they block out the sun and foliage so dense the way ahead is completely blocked from view. This dark place exemplifies our spiritual wilderness. When we’re faced with such trials we know that the only way to get to the other side successfully is to depend upon God’s guiding hand. Where God leads, we must follow or get lost.
Our initial wish may be for God to lead us around such a place, to avoid it all together. But our expectation can sometimes be met with quite a different answer. There are times when God may choose to lead us right through the bramble and thickets of life. However we can comfort ourselves in knowing that He will never allow us to go through alone. Rather, he takes us by the hand and leads us every step of the way. And just as he may require us to ‘go through’ he also may require us to be exposed to the dangers that lurk in the recesses of our tests.
We’re sometimes cut or scratched along the way and may even shed a little blood. Still, God promised us these things: he will never leave us; he will not let us be destroyed and we would come out victorious.
We walk by faith and not by sight; if we walk in doubt or distrust we risk separating ourselves from God’s guiding hand. And to be separated from the Father will ensure catastrophe! One would think traveling blind would be dangerous but we do not have to fear because although danger and darkness surround us, God has us firmly in his grasp. He draws us in his wake, lifts us in his arms, compels us to keep pressing forward and reassures us with the unfailing promise, “There’s light up ahead and victory just over the rise.”
Never has God left his children alone nor will He ever. He wants us to let go of our dependency on self and on others and trust our care completely to him. After all we cannot direct our own footsteps (Jeremiah 10:23), only He is capable of directing us along the right path.
What takes place after we come out on the other side of our wilderness experience depends on what we do as we travel through our wilderness.
When the last thicket has been passed and we step once again into the light of day we will realize that God not only leads us through but once we’ve gone through he will have placed us at a vantage point where we can see His complete masterpiece.
The miracles of the Lord are works of art; his work put Leonardo and Da’Vinci to shame. Who can hold back his hand when he moves? In rebuke or blessing God is fully in control. From Egyptian pharaohs, to Roman emperors, to the President of the United States – God controls them all. If he says speak thus, they must speak. If he says bless here, blessings must flow. If he tells a ripening tree to dry up and wither away who can stop him or say him nay? No one.
This is the God I serve. This is the God who said, “I will call them my people and they will call me their God.” This is the God who declared me to be ‘the apple of his eye.’ It was this God that formed me, sanctified me and set a plan in motion for me eons before I was born.
Jesus said, “You didn’t choose me but I chose you.” (John 15:16)
Yes he chose me and he can do whatever he wants to with whomever he wants to. It doesn’t matter what I may think I’m capable of; it only matters what he says I can do and according to his word I can do anything through Christ Jesus! Anything!
Why? Because my God, Jesus, is Victor and he lives in me.
All of us are going to go through wilderness experiences. We can’t avoid or detain them; just as sure as they come, they’ll end and they’ll end in victory for us.
God never fails. Take a moment to reflect on that. He never fails – ever! This unfailing God is the one who stands ready to lead us through our wilderness experience. God is not an absentee father that he would let go of our hand and abandon us to the wild! He doesn’t produce children just to abandon them. He assures us that if we but only trust him and not let go, he will see us safely through and when we come out – we’ll come out stronger. We’ll come out victorious!
Have you ever seen one of those reality survivalist shows? The people go through all kinds of physical, psychological and emotional hell just to win a monetary prize. They lose weight, sustain injuries, and by time’s end they’re often covered in filth from head to toe. They go through all of this yet without fail, even if they don’t win the prize they walk away with a sense of pride and accomplishment because they made it through to the end.
That’s for worldly gain! Something we know will one day disappear.
Beloved of God, we who are born of the Spirit have our own version of Survival to endure. We too suffer from lack, endure hurt and emotional distress and like them we have a choice to make: either we drop out or we press on.
However there is a more significant difference between us. In the spiritual training, those of us who stay the course always win. There are no losers in Christ Jesus and our Father has promised us a prize that will not tarnish or gather dust.
We must take our positions and stand firm no matter what. God will take us farther, show us more and gift us treasures beyond our imaginings. No amount of suffering, no matter how hard, can compare to the glory that will be revealed in us through Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:18) So beloved I encourage you to take up your position and stand firm and let God lead you through to your glorious end!