We all enjoy good times and we all have times when we think that God has left us and that nothing we do is working. Our life and world appears to be crumbling around us. These times are times in the wilderness. For me, this wilderness experience has been happening on and off every since I started work in the Northern Territory. 12 months ago I entered a new wilderness time. I will not share what has been happening, but it has taken me to a place where I thought I was not able to cope any more and life was something that I had to endure. I only found limited times when I felt like things were going to be Ok. It has been a very tiring time and one where I felt like hiding from people and the world.
When visiting my parents over the July holidays I was sitting down with them watching an interview with John Bevere. He was sharing what God had taught him as a person with being in the wilderness. In the interview he showed his latest book "God Where Are You" which really caught my attention.
The biggest thing that stood out is that the time of being in the wilderness was the time when God spoke to us, grew us and caused us to grow close to him. It was a time of preparation so we were ready for the next thing God had for us. He often gives us a vision of where He is taking us and then takes us on a wilderness journey where we are prepared to be successful in what God had for us to do. It is a time of removing the things of the flesh so God can build up our relationship with Him. It is a time of testing our heart and ensuring our relationship with God is the foundation for who we are and what we do. We find out if we only love God for the benefits or because we actually love him even if the benefits are not something we experience.
Now I understand the importance of the wilderness time I have come to embrace the time and not fear it. I have started a journal, bought a good number of books and I have a pen in hand when reading the Bible and other books and am daily asking God to speak to me. And He is. There are three key messages God has been speaking to me about:-
1. We are citizens of a new kingdom. Jesus came to deliver us into the Kingdom that He rules and reigns. We live in this world but are citizens of another world and God is teaching us to live, think, speak, relate and see things from the perspective of this kingdom. Jesus is the king of this kingdom and we are sons of God.
2. Jesus is taking people through the wilderness so they can die to their flesh and learn to walk in the spirit as sons of God. We need to walk in the Spirit, be filled with the spirit and die to our flesh. Jesus is our shepherd and He guides us through these times. We are not alone during this time.
3. God is calling us to an intimate relationship with Him. This relationship is far deeper than we have ever had before. Any relationship or thing of the flesh that is above Jesus is being challenges and removed as He takes first place in our lives. Everything that we do comes through our relationship with Jesus. God made us for a relationship with Him and He yearns for the day we are not distracted by the flesh but put him first. He is causing us to grow up through our wilderness experiences.
Over my wilderness time I am excited to grow in my relationship with Jesus, to grow in character and be prepared for the things He has promised both me and my family. I look forward to sharing some things God teaches me during this time.