Thursday, April 17, 2014

In the Wilderness Season

(Today is the Third Thursday of the month. Time for the Hearts at Home Home Blog Hop! This month's topic: Love Your Struggles. Head over to Jill's blog to see what other women have to say on the topic.)

I listened as my pastor read the words of Luke 4:1. "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil." My heart was attentive to the thought that our human minds usually think of the Spirit leading us in good things. Yet the Bible is clear that "Jesus wed led by the Spirit... into the wilderness... to be tempted... by the devil."

Hmmm... That was going to require some mulling over. And I have pondered it. Deeply. Mainly because I've felt forced into a wilderness myself. And it's been lonely... because I haven't looked to the one who understands my weaknesses.

The point of the Sunday morning message was more from Hebrews 4:15. "This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin." Jesus welcomed the wilderness because He knew we needed the words of this Scripture. He knew that we would each be led into the wilderness ourselves and that we needed an example of how to resist and endure and come out on the other side stronger than when we entered it.

I listened as we were instructed to resist temptation like Jesus resisted. Honestly, resisting the wilderness all together was more the message I was living. While I know I should be looking for ways to allow God to mold me, I have allowed the coldness of winter to settle into my heart instead.

When the storm clouds roll in, we hunker down and do our best to wait it out... until another storm beckons the horizon on its heels. When it's one storm after another after another, a soul grows weary. Will Spring ever come again? Will we ever see signs of life and growth or will it always be dark, dreary, cold and lifeless?

Everywhere we turn, people are complaining about the weather. It's been a stretch of long, cold, bitter months and it's taken a toll on life. The natives are growing restless. Even children moan when snowflakes fall.  The consensus seems to be the same. It's time to be able to get out and enjoy the days again. People are tired of feeling trapped. And honestly, I am too. Yet my imprisonment has less to do with the forecast and more to do with my soul. I'm left hesitant to hope.

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick" Proverbs reads. My soul has been a living example of that saying these days. It's not the pattern I want my life modeled after. But when sadness wants to make a home in your heart and you use only sheer will to fight against it, depression will win. For no amount of human strength can fight against a lack of hope.

That's why I've been losing this battle. I've been resisting the wilderness instead of embracing the growth I can experience there. Instantly, God captured my attention with the words of my pastor. "The wilderness is an essential place in every spiritual journey." Deep inside the depths of my being, I know this. Yet the knowledge alone hasn't done a thing to help me resist.
I cannot continue to put life on hold until I believe better things are on their way. Right here, in the wilderness, "I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection". It is only through this power that I can get through the wilderness. And I want that illustrated in my life. Because I have hope. And this Easter I'm reminded once again just how much hope I have... even in the wilderness.

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." - Romans 5:3-5

I cannot set my goals in life on comfort and ease and then ask God to let me know the power of His resurrection. "To know Christ and the power of His resurrection isn't complete without  "suffer[ing] with him [and] sharing in his death." We are reminded this week of the discomfort, pain, isolation, sorrow and anguish Jesus endured so we could know.

It's time for me to embrace the wilderness season. I must get my eyes off of my problems and place them on Him. Then I can "know Christ and the power of His resurrection" and "this hope will not lead to disappointment" because I am loved... constantly reminded every time I see a cross... of the ultimate love displayed by a risen Savior!

Yes, I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection no matter what. Whether it is a wilderness season or a cold, bitter winter that appears endless. Because "everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord!"

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up." - Hebrews 12

Are you currently in a wilderness season that you need to embrace?

1 comment:

  1. I think sometimes we need that wilderness season to make us trust in God and rely on Him.

    Thank you for this!