June 23, 2018

Life in the Wilderness

“Yet the LORD says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.” Deuteronomy 29:5 NIV

I always get reflective during the Christmas season. I know that a New Year is right around the corner. I like to think about what God has done over the past 300-something days as I look with anticipation towards what the next year may bring.

Quite frankly, 2016 was not an easy year, personally, professionally – even politically. Just when I thought I had reached my limit on personal challenges, I had to put my car in the shop. The timing wasn’t great with Christmas right around the corner, but then again, is it ever really a “good time” for your car to need major repairs?

As I faced a growing list of mechanical issues, I became frustrated to say the least. Truth be told, I’d really like a new car. Sure, the one I have now is completely paid for and it’s nice to not have a car payment every month, but when I have to put large chunks of money into this one, every now and then, I start to wonder if it’s worth it.

So, during one of my conversations with the Lord, I was lamenting, well, maybe a tad bit, complaining, about all the things I was concerned about. Then, almost like a flash of lightning, my perspective shifted. The Holy Spirit reminded me how The Great I Am maintained shoes and clothing for an entire generation of people while they wandered in the wilderness.

I was reminded how He is providing for me. I have food in the refrigerator. I have a roof over my head. My utilities are on. I am healthy and so is my family. By many standards, I have a nice life.

Yes, some big life decisions and next steps are murky right now. Serious and consequential issues I have earnestly been praying about have yet to manifest. Regardless, I must acknowledge that the Lord is sustaining me, even in the wilderness.

I don’t know what your wilderness situation is right now, but as I encourage myself, I also want to encourage you to be grateful for the little things and keep looking towards the hills from where our help comes from. God has proven Himself time and time again, that He is faithful.

Let’s revisit the journey of the children of Israel.

We all know the story. Because of their disobedience, idolatry and murmuring, the children of Israel lived in the wilderness for 40 years. But I want us to think for a moment about a little detail within this historic account. God not only sustained them with food and water, He made sure their shoes and clothing stayed in good condition.

How awesome is that? What a loving God we serve!

Honestly, in the grand scheme of God’s plan for Israel to cross the threshold into the Promised Land, what difference did it really make if their clothes were tattered shreds or fine garments? Our God is a God who cares about every little detail, every little hair on our head.

Maybe, like me, you’re in a wilderness season of life right now as He prepares us for our Promised Land. Isn’t it great that we can rest with assurance that He will sustain us during the dark days? He will make sure we walk into our land of milk and honey as mature Believers and Disciples of Christ, who are ready to fulfill His Kingdom purposes (and look good while doing it). Selah.

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