WALKING THROUGH YOUR WILDERNESS
DECEMBER 10, 2008
Have you ever prayed, "Lord, be relentless with me!" and really meant it? The heart burden of that prayer is an intense desire that God will bring to completion all His purposes for your life, no matter what it costs in sacrifice or suffering or discipline. If I honestly pray such a prayer, I may be setting the stage for difficult times ahead. Difficult? Yes! But full of excitement, fruitfulness and fulfillment!
God will not pamper me, nor will He spare me the pains that are necessary to bring me up to the measure He has designed me to fill. If God has appointed for me a task of deliverance or leadership, I will, in the process of preparation, walk through a wilderness experience that is a great deal more pronounced and intense than the common ordinary variety of trials that all believers experience.
Jesus was in the wilderness forty days tempted of the devil, but he came forth from that intense time of testing in the power of the Holy Spirit and began to cast out demons, heal the sick, and bring deliverance to the captives. The word "drove" in
God gave Abraham a promise of unusual fruitfulness, prosperity, and influence, but between the time of the promise and the time of fulfillment lay a wilderness of 25 years of walking by faith alone with no sign of the promised blessing. This long dry spell was necessary to perfect Abram as the father of those who walk in faith and to help him accept the name Abraham instead of Abram. Abram means "exalted father" but Abraham means "father of a multitude."
Joseph, as a young man, dreamed dreams of being used of God in a place of responsibility and authority. He saw the vision long before he was qualified to assume the role. Joseph had to walk through an agonizing wilderness of reproach, resentment, false accusation, slavery, and imprisonment before he was ready to function effectively as the Prime Minister of Egypt and the deliverer of Israel in a time of famine.
The apostle Paul walked through his wilderness in Arabia before he emerged as a leader among God's people in the early church. If we knew the spiritual biography of every man or woman whom God has greatly used, we'd soon see that they all had something in common. They could all point to a wilderness they had walked through before they came into an experience of abundant fruitfulness to the glory of God and the good of mankind.
Are you faced with a wilderness experience that you have sought to avoid? Is the Holy Spirit urging you to a course of action that will result in personal growth and development for you and deliverance for those who sit in darkness?
Moses became a leader and a deliverer only after he spent 40 years in a lonely wilderness. When he was finally convinced that he was nothing in his own strength, then God appeared to him and called upon him to go in the strength and authority of Jehovah and deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage. If we can see the true nature of our wilderness and what God designs for us in it, we will be better able to bear the pain and inconvenience of walking through it. Here are some things to consider about your own personal wilderness:
Second, your wilderness will be uncomfortable. It is a time of fiery trial, testing and discipline. It is said of Jesus that
Fourth, your wilderness is a time of character building. The apostle Paul said,
Will you now accept and embrace your wilderness and walk patiently through it for the glory of God? It is important that we understand this, for if we walk reluctantly; complaining and murmuring with every step, our wilderness could become a place of bleached bones, as it was for the Israelites in Moses' day. But if you will recognize it, and embrace it, and walk through it with the praises of God in your heart and on your lips, God will bring you into a large and fruitful place! You will be totally fulfilled for you will see His glory revealed in you and through you to the building and expansion of Christ's Kingdom in the earth.