I have talked to a lot of you who right now are in the wilderness. You’re journeying through a really difficult time in your life, dragging a lot of baggage, a lot of dirt, a lot of mess behind you—and the end seems nowhere in sight.
My life feels pretty even-keeled right now, but I have been in your shoes before and I’ll be there again one day. Our lives are a constant ebb and flow. Whatever wilderness you’re in, this post is for you.
For the woman who is struggling to make end’s meet, who doesn’t know where her next paycheck will come from or how she’ll secure a reliable source of income, trust that there is hope.
For the woman who hates her job and longs for something different, know that you’re where you are for now with great purpose.
For the woman whose deepest desire is to be married, but she can’t seem to land a date, believe that your worth stems from something greater than your relationship status.
For the woman who tries again and again to bear children, yet each pregnancy test comes up negative, there is redemption for you.
For the woman who is chasing the next best job, the next highest title, the next largest salary, the next biggest house, you can stop your striving and find peace.
For the woman who believes she is not enough, know that He is.
Jesus is in your wilderness—He himself went through wilderness. He was tempted by Satan, and he needed to rely on His Father to get Him through it.
He actually quotes three very specific passages in Deuteronomy as he battles Satan.
"He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 8:3)
"Do not test the Lord your God as you tested Him at Massah." (Deuteronomy 6:16)
"Fear Yahweh your God, worship Him, and take your oaths in His name." (Deuteronomy 6:13)
He proclaimed His faith and spoke God’s name out loud—and the Devil left Him.
Jesus has been exactly where you are, and He gets your situation better than anyone else can. He understands pain, longing, betrayal, exhaustion, disappointment, hurt. He sees you. He is working on your behalf.
As I read through the Old Testament, I notice a theme. The Israelites turn away from God time and time again. Not only that, but they worship false gods. They stop teaching their children about Yahweh. They behave in the complete opposite way that God told them to.
God is not blind to their sin; He is a just God after all. His anger comes out, and He releases His wrath. But eventually, the Israelites cry out to God for deliverance. They ask for help. They ask for saving. They ask for a miracle.
Time and time again, God delivers.
Do not be afraid.
Do not be discouraged.
Be strong and courageous.
I am with you.
He is with those Israelites even when they screw things up.
My dear, He is with you, too.
The Promised Land looks like a dream. Milk and honey flow abundantly. The manna is so sweet. But the Israelites don’t get to this amazing place until they’ve spent 40 years journeying through the wilderness.
They consistently ask God to take them a different way. They’d rather be back in slavery in Egypt than deal with the difficulties of the wilderness any longer. But God has a plan and a vision. He sees the entirety of the situation, while they see just a speck.
He promised them redemption, and He doesn’t go back on His promises.
Do you believe that?
Do I believe that?
The redemption comes full circle with Jesus, who died for our sins and rose so that we might have eternal life. We’re not guaranteed a happy life, and we’re not even guaranteed tomorrow. But we can stake our lives on a greater hope and keep our heads held high.
I think lives would be transformed and our world would be a better place if we walked around knowing that truth in our core and living each day with that freedom in our hearts.
Let me put it in a slightly different manner. Remember the 2006 Rodney Atkins country song, “If You’re Going Through Hell”?
"If you're goin' through hell keep on going
Don't slow down if you're scared don't show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there
I've been deep down in that darkness
I've been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different demons breathin' fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled I'd fall right into the trap
That they were layin'
But the good news is there's angels everywhere out on the street
Holdin' out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one's that you've been draggin' for so long
You're on your knees might as well be prayin'
Guess what I'm sayin'..."
He goes on to sing, “face that fire, walk right through it.”
The song might sound cheesy (okay, it totally is), but that’s precisely what we get to do with Jesus! He gives us the strength to walk through fires. He takes us through wilderness before we can reach the Promised Land. We won’t necessarily find that Promised Land here on earth, but we can bank on the fact that it will be the most glorious kingdom we’ve ever set foot in when we do get there.