FROM THE WILDERNESS
GOD SPEAKING TENDERLY TO US
I woke up this summer morning to the sound of birds chirping outside the
window of this cabin I'm staying at, nestled in the middle of the
wilderness (of Wisconsin). You all came to mind and so I asked the Lord
if there was anything He would want to say to your hearts. In the
wilderness, he promised to speak tenderly to us, comforting our hearts.
The wilderness can imply several different things: life in this fallen
world, a season of testing, the place of encounter, a stripping time of
dependencies we may be leaning on aside from Jesus, or the place where
we discover the truth of who He is and who we are in Him.
JOURNEYING TOGETHER IN THE WILDERNESS
In fact, we
are all in the wilderness, journeying on together to our final
destination which we find pictured in Revelation 19:7-The Great Wedding
Supper of the Lamb. I believe the Lord wants to encourage all of us to
unswervingly hold to the hope we have in Him, believing He will see us
through whatever wilderness we are in. He is faithful to keep His
covenant with us. His intention is that we each come out of this time,
leaning evermore on Him.
ALLURED TO THE WILDERNESS
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes. Song of Songs 4:9
I am now going to allure
her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though
you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an
inexpressible and glorious joy. 1 Peter 1:8
Do not be afraid; I am your
shield, your exceedingly great reward. Genesis 15:1
Let him who walks
in the dark and has no light, trust and rely on the name of the Lord.
On a recent trip to the Colorado Rocky Mountains, I took a scenic drive
through the Rocky Mountain National Park up a road named, Many Parks
Curve. Because it was spring, some of the roads were still not open due
to the hazardous conditions. Many Parks Curve was as far as you could
drive this time of year.
My words could not do justice to the beauty
set before me. I can only tell you my breath was taken away by the
beauty of the snow-capped mountain peaks overlooking the Continental
Divide. I also encourage you to one day see this view for yourself!
ONE MORE TIME TO MARVEL AT THIS VIEW
On the final day of my trip, I wanted to marvel at this view one more
time. On my way through Estes Park, a storm was blowing in. When I got
to this same sight, I couldn't see anything besides clouds and
snowflakes. It looked gray, dismal and the temperature became very
cold. The Holy Spirit immediately spoke to my heart teaching me that
this "picture" is just like it is in Him. He is beautiful, glorious,
shining, wonderful, breathtaking and good all the time.
DISILLUSIONS DO COME WHEN WALKING THROUGH A DARK TIME
so easy to become disillusioned when the storms, trials, testings, and
disappointments of life blow in and cause us to lose sight of what
really is reality. To most of us, it probably doesn't "feel" like He is
good and kind all the time, especially when we are walking through a
dark time, unable to see Him.
This is why we cannot live by our
feelings or sight. It's in these times, that He is calling us to look
at who He is, believing His promises regardless of whether we can see or
feel Him. It is in believing that we have life in His name. When we
look at Him with just one glance of our eyes, it ravishes His heart. He
knows and understands how we're feeling.
LOOK AT HIM IN FAITH
We are living in a strategic hour. Jesus is returning for us soon. He
is preparing His Bride, who will be spotless and without stain on her
wedding day. He is shaking everything that can be shaken. He is
purifying our hearts. He is calling us to return to Him, our first
love. He is causing us to hunger and thirst for Him above all other
loves because he is our greatest love. I encourage you to continue
looking at Him in faith with the eyes of your heart.
THIS IS WHAT I SEEK
David spent many years as a young boy tending the sheep. These were
years of preparation. It was the job no one else wanted. It was so
mundane and menial. It was the servant-position & lowest on the totem
pole. He was the youngest in his family, so he inherited this job. I
believe God used this season of his life to root and establish him in
the love of God so that he would be prepared for what God had planned
for him as king. His identity was found in the Lord, not in anything he
did, not in his job, his dreams, or his position.
In this time David
cried out, "One thing I desire of the Lord, this is what I seek, to
dwell in His house all the days of my life; inquire of the Lord and gaze
upon His beauty," Psalm 27:4.
To gaze at something or someone is to
admire what is being looked at. It is not for the purpose of
accomplishing something, but simply for enjoyment. This is how David
spent long hours in the meadows as he cared for his sheep. His joy did
not stem from what He did, but from what He believed.
CARRY YOUR REWARD IN YOUR HEART
David learned to carry His reward with him in his heart. Circumstances
or job changes could never rob him of this reward. The enemy's voice
could not shake him from the truth. When all the trained, elite
warriors in Israel were gathered together cowering at the taunts of the
enemy's accusations, David's perspective on the situation was quite
different. David said, "Who is this uncircumsized Philistine that he
should defy the armies of the living God?" He also proclaimed, "Let no
man's heart fail because of him. I will go and fight with this
Philistine," 1 Samuel 17:26, 32. He obviously wasn't looking at outward
AMIDST PRESSURES AND EXPECTATIONS
As David was trained in the meadows of Israel by long and loving
meditation on the truth of God's beauty, whether he saw it or not, we as
the people of God are in that training in this hour in which we are
living. Our culture is busy meeting the demands of the pressures and
expectations that we all face in our lives. The eyes of the Lord are
roaming throughout the earth looking to strengthen the hearts of those
who are devoted to Him.
CALAMITIES COMING IN OUR WAY
The book of Revelation tells us some of the
calamities that will be coming. The newspaper shows us pictures of
calamities that are already here. I don't know the specifics of the
hardships that are coming, but I do know that I desire a heart like
David's, confident in who my God is, not like the armies of Israel
cowering in fear at the taunts of our enemies. I want to believe who my
God is despite what the world says or how circumstances are perceived.
WHEN YOUR LIFE IS BEING TAKEN AWAY, BEGIN TO BELIEVE WITHOUT SEEING
Imagine the most important things in your life being taken away and your
response to that crisis.
The Shulammite in Song of Songs faced a
similar crisis. The most important desires in her heart, were not being
fulfilled but rather were stripped away. Her ministry was taken away,
she was misunderstood by those closest to her and she no longer
experienced the manifest presence of the Lord. Those around her came to
her asking for the explanation of her love when she was being treated
At this point, the Shulamite bellows out an amazing declaration of who
this Man Jesus is. She proclaims His character and qualities and how
there is no one who remotely compares with him in all the earth. She had
spent time developing a history with Jesus and was confident in His
faithfulness and steadfast love toward her. Like David, she too
believed without seeing. It changed everything!! The beauty of Jesus
caused her to persevere through her wilderness time of testing. It will
do the same for us!
JESUS IS AFTER SOMETHING GREATER IN OUR HEART
Jesus endured the cross, gazing at the joy set before Him, which was YOU
(Hebrews 12:2). Moses endured as he peered at the One who is invisible
(Hebrews 11:27). If you are walking through a time of testing, I want
to encourage you not to lose heart. It is so easy to believe the enemy
who lies to us: you must be doing something wrong, God is rejecting
you, there is no hope for your situation, you might as well accept this
as your destiny and give up. I tell you PHOOEY (if that's a word)! I
believe that He is after something greater in your heart.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO JESUS
this: IF the most important thing to Jesus is our love (just look at
Calvary, and our upcoming wedding day), and IF the more we see Him and
grow in the true knowledge of God causes us to love Him more, for Him to
wait and have you walk through not seeing or understanding for a season,
with the possibility of you growing offended at Him and misunderstanding
His character, possibly misunderstanding His ways -this tells us that He
is after something greater in our hearts that no one and no circumstance
will ever be able to take away. He is entrusting this difficulty to
you, desiring to produce something greater in your heart. As you wait
and look at Him, know that your glance (whether it be weak or strong),
undoes His heart. You are not forgotten. You are His beloved. He is
smitten with you. Stand-believing what He has said about Himself and
about you which is found in the word of God.
Here are 3 practical applications that have really helped me as I've
walked through wilderness seasons. These applications are taken from
Song of Songs 1:7-9.
The Shulammite was crying out to be led by her
Shepherd to the place where He would feed her. The following were His
instructions to her:
Follow the tracks of the sheep:
Body Life -We need to be connected to a
Body of believers and open up our lives to them.
When we open up in
vulnerability, we are able to receive truth and encouragement from one
another as well as protection from believing lies of the enemy.
Graze your young goats: Pour out into others lives-I had a Bible
teacher who continually told us, "What you give, you keep. What you
keep, you lose". We are not called to sign up for every activity under
the sun, however, we all have something to give out to others. You all
have a story to tell! Tell it to all He gives you to.
By the tents of the shepherds: Submit to the authorities over you - We
are called to submit to the Lord's anointed over us-your family, boss,
co-workers, etc. He makes no mistakes in the families, friendships, job
situations, etc. that He provides for us. Be faithful wherever He has
GRACE AND PEACE ABOUND IN WHEREVER WE ARE
In the place where I stay and work, these past few months, I have walked through some
transitions. I moved into a new apartment on campus, which I love even
more than my old one. I moved into a new office, my 3rd office since I
started working here in this place exactly a year ago. I also have a new
boss. I'm currently learning how to best serve and support him in this new role.
Being here at this place has been God's great gift to me this year, though
one of the greatest challenges in my life. I would not have picked this
role, but I knew without a doubt, this is exactly where God wanted me.
Through the mundane and ordinary, the Lord has changed my heart. It was
a gradual process of choosing to agree with His good purposes for my
life and asking for His help. I don't have understanding into a lot of
this, but through it I believe He has become my reward more than
It's a blessing to be here living and working, united to
the Body of Christ partnering with the Lord in His purposes for this
generation of young people He is raising up who will be volunteers,
turning many hearts to this extravagant love we have received!
Wherever you are or go, I pray you would lean in closely to His heart
and hear him speak words of comfort, hope and affirmation to you.
CLICK HERE FOR PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION
THEY WILL HAVE VISIONS AND DREAMS | FROM THE WILDERNESS | THE PEOPLE WHO MADE CHRISTMAS POSSIBLE! | YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN! STAY PURE | FAITH THAT SURVIVES | DO YOU COUNT FOR GOD? | ECUMENICAL COUNCILS AND IMAGES - THE POSITION OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH | YEAR OF THE EAGLE? | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR