Although the Israelites were expecting a paradise in Canaan, they were met with a dry and desolate wilderness… that God had led them into. (Ex. 13:17-18) Why did God lead them into the wandering wilderness when they could have, much sooner, been feasting and celebrating in the lush Promised Land?
My D-Group and I are reading One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer, and so far it has been great. She brings the lives of the Israelites in parallel with our own, and I can now see with much conviction so much resemblance between my life and those of the doubting and faithless Israelites. Priscilla says "the wilderness is God's way of making us want the only thing that's really worth having." Do you remember Psalm 73:25?
"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Sometimes God brings us through the "wilderness" in order to draw us closer to Him. We realize our utter dependence on Him and uncover the uttermost depths of our hearts (Ps. 139:23-24). How humbling to see our true, selfish motives in our daily actions! That's what the wilderness does: makes you realize how far from pure your motives are and how absolutely incapable we are apart from God.
Just today I found out that a dear, sweet friend of mine far away had a miscarriage. Though this news rips my heart and burdens me to pray, I know that this event is another "wilderness" situation for my precious sister in Christ. This event came as no shock to Almighty God! As Priscilla Shirer suggests, "Would we let the foul, snarling breath of tragedy motivate us to race even harder into the arms of God, trusting Him to know the best way to take us where we most wanted to be- even if the best way (for reasons we may never know for sure) meant going this way?"
Today, I'm embracing my own kinds of wilderness, and running hard into the arms of God… He knows what He's doing. (Easier said than done, right?)