The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
– Exodus 14:14
40 years they wandered in that dry and thirsty land.
Day after day, month after month, year after year, they walked, they searched, and they questioned.. “How could He save us, just to turn around and leave?”
They were His chosen people, His beloved, the ones that He had given His promise of redemption.. But now here they were, stuck in this desert, tired, exhausted, and quickly losing hope.
As they walked through that dry sand, the hot sun beaming down on them, and no destination in sight, their hearts became weary, and their minds filled with doubt. A journey that was supposed to only take 40 days, now somehow turned into 40 years.
When I first heard this story, all I could think about was how silly the Israelites must have been. I mean, God had proven Himself to them over and over again. They were hungry, so He gave them food.. They were thirsty, so He gave them water. They were stuck, so He parted the whole sea.. but still, they hesitated.. still, they complained.. still, they denied His goodness.
I don’t know about you, but lately, I have come to realize that those Israelites and me, well, we really aren’t so different.
Many times in my life I have questioned, I have doubted, I have wandered. The Lord had a plan, but for one reason or another, I resisted. I couldn’t muster up the faith to stand, I couldn’t let go of my will, and truly trust in His.
We all have a wilderness, a desert, a place that we won’t allow The Lord to pull us out of. We don’t really want to be stuck here, but still, we refuse to let go.. somehow we feel safe in the familiarity.
My wilderness is anxiety, a land full of fear. A land that I could spend forever wandering through, if I continue to reject His lead.
I have spent many days crying, yelling, and questioning God’s plans.. Like the children of Israel, I, too, have wanted to turn back, and run from His will. It’s just too much, Lord, the path is hard, and the road is too long.
The trials, and the tribulations have become my way to justify the doubts that play over in my mind. If He’s listening, why won’t He answer? If He cares, why won’t He mend?
Oh, if only we could see what He has in store just beyond that horizon. That beautiful land, flowing with milk and honey. That precious treasure that has been promised to us all along.. if only we would believe, if only we would trust, if only we would follow. It’s right there, right on the other side of that mountain..
God brought them to the very edge of the promised land.. they were so close, and yet, fear and uncertainty began to creep in.. and when it did, they were no longer able to take that first step, they were no longer able to find the faith to walk ahead. Their hearts and their minds turned from their God.
I think we all have had a time or two where we chose to give up, to run scared, to walk our own way. The Lord whispers, “Trust me, and follow”. Instead, we go searching for a way through this desert, a way out on our own terms..
Their journey may have been tough, but The Lord never left, not even for a moment. All along, His plan was to bring them through to the other side, but they refused to believe. They questioned His purpose, and they denied His love.
Let’s not be like the Israelites, let’s not allow our unbelief to stop us from obtaining all that He has promised. The Lord has a wonderful plan for each of us, but sometimes we have to walk through the desert in order to reach it. Let’s learn to be like Joshua and Caleb.. Let’s not rely on proof, but instead, let’s blindly walk in faith..
Know that He will never take you down a path that won’t lead to the right side of redemption. He won’t allow a trial, and not make a way to overcome. His plans will always be greater than ours, and His ways will always outshine ours.. So, trust ,dear friends, always trust. Has He ever let you down before? Has he ever left you destitute? No, the desert may seem bare, and the road may have bumps, but The Lord will continue to walk along side you, just take a hold of His hand.
Hard times come, but with them, there comes the potential for victory. No, I haven’t yet achieved it, but I so believe, that by the grace of my Savior, one day I will. One day I will finally let go of the strong grip that I have had on my anxiety, one day I will have the faith, and even more, the obedience, to take the leap into the unknown.
You see, I think that’s what was missing in that desert all along. It wasn’t so much the fact that the Israelites weren’t able to walk in faith, but, more so, that they weren’t willing to walk in obedience.. Because isn’t that what faith really is? Obedience. We can’t make faith appear out of thin air, but we can always make the choice to obey. Faith comes when we follow His direction, even when the road seems unsure. And every time we do this, our faith grows a little stronger.
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
– 2 Corinthians 5:7
Because of their unbelief, they were never able to see what was waiting for them on the other side of that hill.. The journey that was supposed to lead them in to His glorious liberty, instead, brought them back in to the land of bondage. His desire all along was for them to reach that beautiful destination, to receive healing and restoration.. He never intended for them to continue to struggle in that wilderness for so long. He had a perfect plan, but they chose their own.
I don’t know about you, but I know I sure don’t want to miss out on His perfect will for my life. I don’t want to stay stuck in my own ways, and resist His. The Lord can take every struggle, trial, and mountain, and use it for something good. Our journey through the wilderness is not meant to break us, or to lead us astray, but it’s meant to refine us, to perfect us, and to bring us closer to Him than ever before.
If I continue to allow my anxiety to take over my life, and to rob me of my faith, then I won’t ever reach the place where The Lord is able to do His mighty work. He is so willing to change me, to restore me, to heal me, but if I refuse to let go of the control, then I will remain in this place. I need to be willing to come before His throne of glory, and to lay the strong holds down at His feet. I need to take the weight, and the burdens off of my shoulders, and give it over to One who is so wanting to bare it for me.
We need to remember that just like the children of Israel, if we choose to forgo His plans for what we think is better, then we will always be left searching. But, if we stay the course that He has set out, then He will always stick close, and will surely make a way.
Yes, sometimes it will feel like more than we can bare, and sometimes we won’t receive answers for the whys, but even so, just obey, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Even when we’re stuck standing, with the ocean on one side, and the enemy charging at us on the other, believe that The Lord is faithful. He will part those waters, and lead you onto dry land.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, don’t ever look away.. our Lord is always ready and always willing to bring you out of that desert, and into His promised land.
What is your desert?
How has The Lord brought you through it?
Let me know in the comments.
I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
– Psalms 34:4
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