I am sure you would agree that there are many kinds of wilderness in our world.
Recently, as I continue to recover from my January brain storm, I found myself in a wilderness of my own creation. I call it “my living room wilderness”. Since I can’t drive a car for sometime yet and the reading, writing, studying, and house-keeping I have tried to engage in reliably every day turns into something of a bore to me, I must resort to the work behaviors I engaged in before my hospitalization. Scheduling and to do lists are no way to recover, I found.
You probably have heard euphemisms like “being in a rut”, or “the doldrums”. My late, great Aunt Thelma called them “the dear me[s]”. Scripture often refers to it’s key players as going “into the wilderness”. More about that later.
Thankfully, Sandy and I are able to talk these things through in a no nonsense, practical way and she has been very helpful in this regard. She grows in wisdom more and more every time I talk to her and I benefit greatly. Sometimes I think she even lets me get away with thinking I came up with solutions myself.
You might be asking: “So what does this mean in the world of The Truth for a Lie?” Here it is:
For about four thousand years, God’s key players all took tours of the wilderness for various reasons. Some not so key players, like me, have our own wilderness to travel through. From Adam and Eve, Cain & Abel, Abraham & Sarah, Joseph, Moses, all of the prophets, Jonah, David, to Jesus and His apostles, wilderness was and is the common thread that binds these Biblical heroes (and occasional zeros) and heroines to each of us as we try to draw closer to the God that loves us and wants to draw closer to us. This is the truth. The lie our enemy Satan would like for us to believe is that these situations are hopelessly beyond our repair and we should just succumb to the creeping nothingness of time spent alone, the illusion of a life without God and His only Son, Jesus.
When Israel wandered in the desert of Sinai for 40 years, they complained constantly and ultimately insulted God Himself by saying “God can’t give us food in the wilderness. Yes, He can strike a rock so water gushes out, but He can’t give His people bread and meat (Psalm 78:19-20).” This is the lie our adversary would have us believe and he assaults us with this lie constantly, like the Israelites assaulted Moses and God in the Sinai for all those years.
Think about this for a moment. God kept, by some estimates, nearly 2 million people, the descendants of Abraham, wandering in an area less than half the square miles of Florida (about half that, even, of the land they actually traveled) for a full generation until all of them, including Moses, died outside the land God promised them. The exceptions were Joshua and Caleb and the new generation born out of Egypt who would take over the promised land. From here, numerous wars of annihilation took place in this land until Israel basically wasted every opportunity God gave them to turn to Him unconditionally, the way He protected and blessed them.
The great truth in this for us in modern times is the same, and we don’t have to slaughter large groups of idolatrous infidels to do it! We don’t even have to travel, complaining to God about how we aren’t fed adequately or taken care of in any other way. Here’s the best part: there is a simple, three-pronged strategy (how’s this for modern usage of a millenium’s-old idea) for getting out of the wilderness and into the truth of liberty, justice, peace, and security.
You all should know where this is headed by now, and thanks for your patience while I come to the point. The 3 things I am speaking of are: daily prayer, daily and directed scripture reading, and fellowship as often as you can with like-minded people in a church that holds God’s word as holy and of eternal truth. I humbly suggest a Bible in a language easily read by you and family and a church where loving God (He says if you love Me, obey Me) and loving others aren’t just a word on a website, but where you see this love acted out by everyone at all times, regardless of the circumstance. When you come across such a place, the Holy Spirit will give you peace about it and you will know. The Epistle of James (4:8) promises us: “Come near to God and He will come near to you”! He wants, like any loving father, a close relationship with you in a way unimaginable to us. So much so, He gave His only son, Jesus to accomplish this. All we have to do is believe and be saved. It is madness not to!On the cross Jesus said “It is finished”. This is precisely what He was declaring.
In my first post at Christmas, I said there are no proofs for me to offer, but there is far more evidence of the truths of which I speak, than for the unbeliever’s position regarding the long dirt nap they anticipate after the last heartbeat.
Finally, Paul said in his letter to the Romans that we are righteous (not perfect, or even good) for just believing (an act of faith) and God made it simple after His son’s crucifixion to arrive at this. In Romans 10:9 it says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” This confession is to God Himself and He knows your heart without you uttering a word out loud. Read Psalm 139 to see how David cried out to God, knowing what an adulterous, idolatrous, murderous wretch he had become, but still with an overriding desire to get back into that laser beam focus of God’s perfect grace and will.
It is yours for the asking. Ask.
Grace and peace to you.