A Desert Journey

Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth ; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert…Isaiah 43:19

It seems that it is God’s good pleasure to continue to allow me to journey through a season of wilderness. A season of wandering in the desert. Of isolation. It’s been three years since I began this journey.

a desert journeyIt’s not my first journey here, but it does seem to be my longest yet. Desert wanderings are always hard. Just like a physical desert our lives feel barren and hostile. It can be a desolate place, exposed and unprotected. We often are left feeling isolated from kindred sisters, friends and acquaintances.

It’s interesting to me that when we journey through the wilderness each must journey alone. Yes, there are others here, but each have their own road to walk. And while we can share, support and encourage others in their wanderings we each must focus on our own lessons that God has for us here.

I have learned that there are 4  things to remember while traveling through the wilderness.

  • Do not compare: We can not compare our walk with others. No two will ever be the same. Comparing our wilderness journey only brings discontentment, discouragement and bitterness.
  • Do not rush: We must also be careful that we do not try to rush through the journey. The time we spend here is never wasted. God has a reason for our time here and we must remember that sometimes the journey could take days and other times it may be years. Rest in the knowledge that God’s timing is always perfect.
  • Stay nourished: When traveling through the wilderness or desert we need to remember to stay hydrated. The plants that survive  in the desert grow very deep taproots in order to soak up as much water as possible. In fact many will grow to be more than 100 feet and have a huge networks of toots that spread out in all directions. The believer stays nourished in the desert by growing strong roots in the word of God.
  • Look for joy: There is much beauty to be seen and tasted in the wilderness. It may be a bit harder to see, but if you look for the blessings you will see them. You will experience the joy that can come from your desert journey. Joy comes when we remember that God knows  about and sees our journey. He is with you through every step and He will meet your needs.

We all will experience a season of walking in the wilderness and feeling isolated. Let us remember that it isn’t always a bad thing. It’s not always due to sin. Often it’s in the wilderness that we learn and grow to rely even more on our God. It’s here that we learn that He truly is sufficient for every part of our lives. So if you find yourself in a dry, isolated desert then seek God with an even greater thirst. Stay in the word and keep your eyes on Jesus.

If you are not in a desert place then prepare for the time that you will by growing your roots deep into the word of God.

 

He changes rivers into a wilderness And springs of water into a thirsty ground ;  fruitful land into a salt waste, Because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it.  He changes a wilderness into a pool of water And a dry land into springs of water ; And there He makes the hungry to dwell, So that they may establish an inhabited city, And sow fields and plant vineyards, And gather a fruitful harvest. Also He blesses them and they multiply greatly, And He does not let their cattle decrease. Psalms 107:33-38

 

  “For the LORD your God has blessed you in all that you have done ; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing.”‘Deut 2:7

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The Prodigal’s Free Choice

My child I love you,
I know you do not fully understand the depths of my love.
I love you enough to die for you.
I love you enough to give you the most precious gift
A gift you still do not understand.
A gift called free choice.
My beloved child you are mine.
I drew you unto myself years ago.
You loved me, sought me and you desired to follow me.
dreamstimefree_2831598You were on a path that would lead to my wonderful purposes for you.
Then, you looked away; you began to see what the world had to offer.
It looked pleasing to you, and you choose to follow the lies of this world.
Do you see how much I love you?
I’ve given you free choice, even when it breaks my heart,
even though it cost me the life of my Son.
Do you understand how much His death cost Me?
Now you are choosing your own way.
You are not following hard after Me.
My child do you not see the pain you cause?
Do you not see the road of pain your choices will cost you?
My child I will wait for you.
Now you are making choices that cause my heart to ache,
For I long to have an intimate relationship with you again.
But you can not have intimacy with me while you choose to follow another god.
Someday you will stop running from Me, you will see your need of Me.
Do you understand that you do not walk alone in your sin?
In every wrong choice, every sin you commit, I am there.
I chose you before the foundations of the world.
I will not let you go.
Yes I’ll let you have your free choice, but I will continue to work in you,
For you are Mine!
And one day when the world is done with you and you finally believe in the truth
that you already know
You will turn around to come home and I will be there
with my open arms ready to receive you again.

I am Prone to Wander

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? Luke 15:4

Through the years God has shown me the truth of this passage over and over. It seems that for many years my heart was prone to wander greatly. (and at times it can still be prone to do so). But recently I have been reflecting on the truth that God will “never leave nor forsake us” and He brought a life changing event to mind that helped me finally take this truth from my head to my heart.

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At the age of 20 I was not married and pregnant. I hadn’t told anyone for I planned to abort. I was talking with my pastor and for reasons only God know he came right out and asked me if I was pregnant. I had to tell him yes.

He shared his  disappointment but never did he make me feel ashamed. He shared with me God’s willingness to forgive. Over the next few weeks this pastor would call me, but I did my best to ignore the calls. He came by the house, but I pretended I wasn’t home. Then he showed up at my place of employment. He was relentless. He wasn’t going to leave me alone until I talked to him.

For nine months this pastor pursued me to make sure I was okay, that I was not continuing to live in sin. He offered advice, support and a loving heart. He prayed for me and with me, even in those times when I really did not feel like praying. He showed me Christ. And when so many were ignoring and judging me, he modeled the love of Christ.

To this day I believe it is due to his persistence that I am walking with the Lord. Toward the end of my pregnancy I rededicated my life to Christ. I left that path of destruction I was on and chose to follow God with my whole heart.

It was not easy, being a single mom, but God through His amazing Grace and Mercy brought me a godly man when my son was only 11 months old.

God has often used this mans faithfulness in modeling Christ to my mind when I am struggling to believe that God could really love me when, once again, I failed. He uses this man’s example when I look at my sin and think “God is done with me now, there is no more mercy.” Or “He’s not going to forgive this same sin again and again!” God reminds me He will pursue me in an even greater way. He does not give up.

Why does He continue to pursue me when I so easily wander from the flock? Because He loves me, forgives,  is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and He said that He will never forsake me. (Neh 9:17)

He also says to me

“Be strong and courageous, and act ; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.  (1 Chron 28:20)

…for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” Heb 13:5b

“What do you think ? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying ? “If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.Matt 18:12-13

I may be prone to wander at times but my great Shepherd will always pursue me in order to bring me back to where I belong.

Oh Father how thankful I am for the examples you have given me to remind me that You will never leave or forsake me. I am Yours and You will pursue me just as You pursue all Your sheep. Whether they are lost or wandering, they are Yours and nothing will pluck them from your hands. Keep my heart close to Yours, help me to be obedient and here Your voice. Do what is necessary in order to keep my heart from wandering from Your perfect will.