In the Between-ness: A walk in the wilderness
I am between mountain top moments. Maybe you have been there, too; or you are standing in the sand with me.
There I was, enjoying a time of lingering amid spiritual growth-- God's voice speaking to me clear and sweet. The evidence of God's blessings was all around. Doors, dreams, and the desires of my heart were falling open and into place. Everything in my spiritual life made sense, and God was making great changes in my heart and my head.
Until He wasn't.
What happened? Did God change his mind about me? Have I failed? Was the time on the mountain top real?
I began to question myself; maybe, I didn't have what it takes to be a "good Christian." (I don't even really know what that is!)
That's where I am, and maybe you are there, too, or have been.
It's the between-ness.
It's that place in the middle between mountain top moments. Many call this the wilderness.
This place is not where I want to be. I want to stay on the top of the mountain, tangibly feeling God and audibly hearing His voice. It's comfortable and safe. I don't want to be in the valley where it's dark and uncertain.
What if the wilderness is just as important as the time at the top? What if time in the desert is just what we need?
The wilderness is for testing. The dryness of this place gives us a thirst for more. It is a time that grows our strength and breeds humility. We learn to live on God's strength, not our own. Often, God calls us from the wilderness to do great things for the kingdom of God.
Joseph was the favored son and one day found himself at the bottom of a cistern in the wilderness. Moses was the Pharaoh's favorite son destined for the throne, yet he found himself in the wilderness tending his father-in-law's flock. After obediently being baptized and receiving the adoration of his Father, Jesus went into the wilderness.
Joseph's path to becoming second only to the Pharaoh, allowing him to save his family and the remnant of Israel started in the wilderness. Joseph came out of the wilderness and became an example to us of dependence on God, an unwavering faith that God is in control, and a picture of how to give grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
Moses received his calling and appointment to lead Israel from slavery from a burning bush in the wilderness. From the wilderness, Moses spoke directly to God and became our example of obedience and faith.
Satan tested Jesus in the wilderness. He had every right to do all the enemy tempted Him to do. Yet, he persevered and overcame through the power of God's Word. He walked out of the wilderness to begin His ministry that would change the world.
A trip through the wilderness often follows mountain top moments or a time of testing and dryness, but, as you can see from Joseph, Moses, and Jesus, the wilderness also leads to much more than we can expect.
The wilderness, the between-ness, is not a permanent address. Instead, it is a time for depending entirely on God, remembering His promises, and living out what we learned on the mountain. It's a time for letting go of our will and following God's and depending on His strength to carry us to the next mountain.
On the mountain, He pours His Spirit into us, growing our faith and trust in Him for a time such as this, a walk through the barren wilderness. As we walk, all we have to lean on is what we received on the mountain.
If you are struggling through time in the dry, seemingly empty desert, sweet sister, try to draw on that time on the mountain. God does not lead us into a dry spell without having equipped us to grow and thrive while there. God's teaching continues in us in the wilderness. You are not alone or forgotten. Learn the desert lessons well.
Here are seven things I am learning in my wilderness time, and maybe you need to know them, too.
Remember God's promise to never leave or forsake us. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God, nothing. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God has given us everything we need to live. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.
Guard your heart and mind against the enemy And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always and He will give you peace.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness[a] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do not abandon seeking God. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Never stop praying. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
What are you learning in your wilderness time?
Dear friends, everyone goes through a time in the wilderness. Many of us take several trips through the desert, and sometimes it seems like it will never end. Have heart; it's part of God's plan to help us learn to depend on Him even when we can't see or feel His presence and work in our lives. Our faith grows stronger and our dependence on Him increases, and while you are in the between-ness, keep your eyes on the horizon for the next mountaintop.
Dear Father God, in the name of Jesus, lead us from mountain top to mountain top and through the valleys between. Fill us with you Spirit and protect us from pain and harm. Help us to rejoice in the wilderness because we know you are there and your will for us is good and perfect, even time in the desert. Amen.
JOURNALING IN JUNE!
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