You’re probably wondering what the wilderness is. Many know the story of Moses freeing his people from the Egyptians, complete with the staff turned to snake and parting of the Red Seas. However, it was after their grand escape that the Israelites had to face something just as scary- trusting God when everything around them seemed endless dust. I know what you’re thinking. But He saved them, He did so many amazing things, how could they not trust Him after all this?! The Lord made a covenant with the Israelites that He would deliver them to the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey, but only if they obeyed his commandments. Herein lies the problem. Everything is great at first, but once the excitement of what they’ve been through passes and the days turn into months turn into years, the anxiety began to settle in their stomachs. The Israelites lost hope and began to disobey the Lord. They wandered the wilderness for forty years, forty years. Had they simply obeyed the commandments given to Moses from God and trusted Him fully, they would have spared themselves more suffering. As punishment, the Israelites that left Egypt never saw the promised land of Canaan, but because God is faithful in His word, a new Israelite generation did.
It’s easy to judge them and think that they were foolish people, but all humans give into fear at one point or another. Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t see a fast solution? Despair comes from not seeing a physical solution to a problem you feel is overwhelming. Even when we try to be patient, the problem seems so endless and large that we panic because we feel stuck. Instead of trusting God and letting it rest in His hands, we scramble to find a way out and end up digging ourselves further into a hole. Though we may feel like He is taking too long to get us out, we have to realize that God has a structured plan for every soul. We can only see it to the level of tomorrow, of what comes next, but we can’t see the plan in its grand scale, spanning generations and resting beyond time and space. In Isaiah 55:9, the Lord says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” We try to lower God to the capacity in which our limited minds can comprehend Him, but He is beyond our understanding. He is God.
When we feel trapped, all we want to do is get out, but what if we’re meant to be in that situation? What if its not a trap at all, but an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone? What if it’s an opportunity to draw near to God and trust Him? He can’t put you where He needs you to be before you start where He needs you to start. He’ll sit you right there in the sticky, in the messy, in the uncomfortable. The Israelites panicked and instead of turning to God, they turned from Him. Don’t just sit in the uncomfortable and give up. There is a method to the pain, there is a purpose to the change. A metamorphosis is going to happen. You must stretch, learn, grow. Sometimes, we need the wilderness. We need to be in the valley before we can make it to the mountain.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Hosea 2:14, which says “I will lead you into the wilderness and speak tenderly to you.” It’s a reminder that despite what you go through, God is always with you, speaking tenderly to you, asking you to trust Him. Further still, sometimes He leads you there because He wants you to trust Him, He wants you to place your faith in His hands. It’s an opportunity to deepen a personal relationship with Him and it’s an opportunity to become greater. He wants to amplify you to the level of who He created you to be, but before that can occur, He’s got to move you into a position to receive something better. If we stayed in the same place our entire lives, we would never grow. You can’t have flowers without the rain. In the same way, your mess matters because its molding you. It’s letting you settle deep roots into the ground and a change is occurring inside of you, a blooming is on the way. It matters what foundation you rest your life upon because when things get tough, you will blow away like a leaf if there isn’t something solid inside of you to depend on. It’s a reminder to place all our faith in Him and love Him, even when we don’t understand, especially when we don’t understand (because often we won’t). Even in the storm, even when He doesn’t grant us what we want, He is still good. Often, because He is good, He is placing us in the storm.
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