Normally when a Christian hears the word “wilderness experience” the first thing that comes to their mind is the journey the Israelites took to get to the promised land. For those who don’t know the story, this is when God took the nation of Israel out of Pharaoh’s rule in Egypt, through the red sea and to the promised land via the wilderness.
From the onset I would say this, “Getting to a Promised Land is never easy”, and by Promised Land I mean, to a better place in general. A better place of happiness, peace, contentment, financial freedom, spiritual connection with God, etc. Attaining these things are never easy and nor should it be, because in my humble opinion, “good things are worth fighting for”.
I also live by the concept that, “One who is given everything, really has nothing”. Therefore, certain things in life we must fight for, we must earn it – there is just no other option. We must learn to fight, and we must learn to climb and “climbing is always harder than walking on a level plain”. By God’s design, even nature teaches us this, because the topography of the land was created with valleys, hills, inclines, mountains, highlands, and peaks. Hence, traversing them calls for greater effort and sometimes different equipment/tools. Clearly God was telling us that while we journey through life everything wouldn’t always be the same and it will require different levels of determination. So, if the terrain is undulating, then how do we get to these pinnacles of joy and happiness that was promised?
The first thing I would like to establish is this, the Promised Land is just that, it was a Promise. God promised us as believers’ certain things which are GUARANTEED. We can rest assured about this because God watches over His word (Jeremiah 1:12) to perform it and, He is a God that cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18). Now, it would take faith for us to activate these promises, do you have faith? If you don’t have faith, the fullness of His promises will never be yours, NEVER! So, I ask again, do you have faith?
Along with faith, I want to add another ingredient and that is obedience. When you read the story of the people of Israel travelling to the promised land, one can clearly see that they were stiffed necked and stubborn (Exodus 32:9). This was one of their main problems and it is the same with us. We are too stiff-necked!
We hear what to do by reading God’s word, we hear it in a Sunday morning church service, we hear it from friends and family, we hear it by the whispers of the Holy Spirit, we hear it all over. But sadly, our hearts are too hard, and our heads are too stiff to turn in the right direction. I am sure many of us can look back and say at points in our lives, “if we only listened”. If we only listened to our parents, if we only listened to our spouse, if we only listened to our boss at work, if we only listened to our Pastor, if we only listened. This stubbornness of heart not only gets us into trouble, but it keeps us there.
The journey of the Israelites was initially supposed to take a shorter period, as noted in Exodus 13 verse 17 below. The verse states:
“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”
As you can see, God knew that the Israelites could not face their enemy to fight, so He sent them into the wilderness first. God knew that “they didn’t yet have the military strategy and discipline that was required. They still needed some time, some teaching, and some demonstrations of His presence, His power, and His provision”. God’s plan was to use the wilderness to teach them how to fight, but instead the people fought the wilderness and rejected the experience (for the experience is most times the greatest teacher).
This blog is titled, “The Wilderness is not for You!”, but I hope you realize by now that this statement is incorrect. Just like Jesus going into His own wilderness (Luke 4:1-13), we too must enter ours to truly learn how to fight and mature.
The wilderness is a testing ground and training ground for us. It is here that we learn to fight the enemy within (ourselves). It is not a place for us to lay down and die there. It is a short route, but we make it longer by our attitudes and behaviours, then try to blame God and even others. All He wanted to do was develop us for the next leg of our journey – it’s all about next level development with God.
My friends, the wilderness is essential for our development so embrace it for what it is. A training ground to prepare you to fight the things (like the Jebusites, Canaanites, Hittites, etc) which are keeping you from your real promises of milk and honey.
I end this blog by leaving you with some tips about how to survive in your wilderness.
- Don’t complain or grumble.
- Be thankful and worship God
- Keep your eyes fixed on God
- Don’t make the thing you lack into an idol.
- Keep drinking of the living water
- Realise you can’t go backwards but can only go forwards.
- Surround yourself with other Christians for support.
- Have hope that God is using the wilderness experience for your good.
PS: Dane Miller was last seen taking a different view about his wilderness experiences.
Guys on another note, I will be taking a sabbatical from writing blogs for a while. Take care for now.
Your Brother in the Lord,
Dane Miller | Authored Book – “God is the Author, I am the Pen”
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