Sometimes we’re just in a wilderness. I believe that sometimes God allows us to just “cool our heels” and/or “stew in our own juices” until it’s time for the next part of His plan to be revealed.
These are not easy times for any of us. We worry that we’re out of God’s will. We’re impatient to get on with it. And, like quicksand, the more we struggles to force God’s purpose, the deeper we sink and sometimes even delay God’s next move until He’s sufficiently prepared us.
So how do we survive the wilderness? We use our time of rest wisely.
In my own life, my wilderness times have become a time of reflection, hope and trust. God has put me in the wilderness more than once just to teach me patience. (Never one of my strong suits.) I’ve learned to spend those times reflecting on my situation. Not so much for the purpose of finding a way out of it; but more to ask myself (repeatedly) a few questions.
Is there something in my life that needs correction? Am I doing things in my life that I secretly hope God doesn’t see? If I am, I need to change it … quick. I don’t believe God will allow us to receive His “next blessing” until we’ve dealt with our unconfessed sin or selfish lifestyle.
Is there something God is trying to teach me here? Patience? How to be satisfied with what I have and where I am? To acknowledge the blessings He’s already given me? I believe God will sometimes put us in a holding pattern until we “get it.” Just like in school when you have to successfully pass Algebra I before moving on to Algebra II, there are fundamentals you have to master in order to be prepared for the next task He has for you.
Am I trying and not trusting? Am I devising my own plan and drawing my own road map, then asking God to bless MY plan? I’ve been guilty of this many times. “Look at this God! I’ve got it all figured out and I’ve thought everything! Here’s what I think should happen …” My sense of humor (and experience with God’s) envisions God in Heaven just chuckling at me and saying, “There she goes again. When is she ever going to just TRUST me?”
God’s plan is perfect. His timing is perfect and He often has plans for us beyond what we could ever dream or imagine. All we need to do is trust Him by turning our lives over to Him day by day (hour by hour, if necessary) and wait patiently for Him to do what He does best … take care of us. Sounds easy, huh? NOT.
I’ve come to enjoy my wilderness times. Not because they’re fun or stress-free. They usually aren’t. But because I know that God is doing something with me. God is never NOT doing something with me. I try to just relax, listen to my heart, listen to God, and keep my eyes and ears peeled for my next assignment.
Take heart. We all experience wilderness times. Times when we feel like we’re going nowhere. Times when we feel distant from God. But we must always remember the truth of one of my favorite scriptures:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your OWN understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and he WILL direct your path.” --Proverbs 3:5-6
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Thank you for this reminder. We all need to reflect on ourselves (that means me) when God seems a little farther away. I also liked your use of Scripture at the end. The timing of it and the little usage was perfect. It didn't overwhelm, but it did add support.