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TITLE: The Promised Land
By Janice Stotz
03/18/11
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Last year was a time of wilderness wandering for me. It was a difficult year for our family, our church and financially! This is an article I wrote for the church newsletter I write for and edit. I'm hoping 2011 is the year I step out of the wilderness into the 'promised land."
God led the children of Israel out of Egypt through an unlikely hero, Moses, so that he could take them into the promised land. It was God’s plan that they should go straight into that land he promised, but the people would not go. Their sin of unbelief and fear destined them to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, instead of the few weeks journey it should have been.
The Israelites refused to enter Canaan, because the spies they sent ahead told them there were giants in the land. They believed these discouraging words instead of trusting God. When they refused to enter Canaan, the door was closed so to speak, and it meant wandering in the wilderness for forty years. God opens doors no human can close, and he closes doors no human can open (Isaiah 22:22; Rev 3:8).
So often our fears keep us from enjoying all that God wants to give us, and sometimes our faith is put to the test to see if we will trust God to provide. We fear what might happen if we trust Him completely.
We start out with hope and enthusiasm. Beyond, lies our promised land filled with possibilities and achievements. “Then the giants appear—giants of opposition from without; giants of fear from within. Our faith fails. We forget God. We compare our difficulties with our strength rather than committing them to the great arm of God. Then we turn back into the wilderness of half trust, half victory and whole despair.” (What the Bible is all About. Henrietta C. Mears)
I have wandered in a financial wilderness for too long it seems, and 2010 was a wilderness all its own for many reasons. When you are wandering, you feel defeated and discouraged, even depressed. There is an awkward silence when you pray.
Have you heard that silence in your persistent and desperate prayers? I know you have, because we are all humans making many mistakes and capable of wandering far! Be encouraged though, wherever you are in your wilderness wandering, God is right there with you patiently leading you back.
God’s apparent silence to our prayers is not because He chooses not to speak or care; it’s often that His answer is already on the way. We just can’t see it yet from where we stand. His timing is not our timing, and that is SO hard to understand and accept sometimes.
Yet, in the waiting room of our prayers we learn to embrace this apparent silence of God. We try hard not to get angry or impatient, but wait with expectant stillness; be still before the Lord and hope; anticipate his future answer to prayer.
Then one day, in the stillness of our waiting at the edge of the wilderness, we see the answer clear and wonderful in God’s perfect timing, like a stunning rainbow painted on the sky after a fierce storm. We realize that everything we questioned was part of God’s plan for us and His answer to our prayer is coming together in unimaginable ways.
Knowing and believing God’s answer is on the way in His perfect time and plan helps us to pray into the silence, and wait with expectant stillness. When you follow God through a wilderness experience, you will find the promised land. I believe that.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, “ declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29: 11-14
Be encouraged as we see the victory of Christ through our daily lives and these coming days.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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