The wilderness. What thoughts and images come to mind when you hear or read that word? Perhaps you think of the mountains, isolated in the hills and trees, a time of solitude and reflection. Maybe you think of a barren desert and wild animals. As Christians, we often hear it referred to as a time of trials and testing of our faith. For me, 2021 has been full of “wilderness” experiences.
Being in the Wilderness
The loss of my younger sister in February was the most significant hardship, along with three moves in just ten months. I had a physical injury and no running vehicle for five months. We had to rehome our dog that we had from a pup and some financial hardships along the way. All of this was just last year. Our family has had our share of other tribulations over the years, each one coming with its own wilderness experience. Because I had to cling to God and trust Him through each of these circumstances, it grew my relationship with Him.
Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
Notice that God does not pull us out of the water or the fire but is with us through them. Same with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and AbedNego. God did not pull them out of the fiery furnace but was with them in it!
Some trials last a long time, others come and go quickly, but God is faithful to be with us through each one if we pause long enough to see Him.
A New Season
I recently completed a Bible Study titled With Us in the Wilderness by Lauren Chandler. It’s a study on the book of Numbers, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Talk about a “wilderness experience” – the Israelites were literally in the wilderness for forty years! But through it all, God was with them. He provided their food, clothing, and shelter; He protected them from their enemies. I’m sure there were times when they thought He forgot about them, but He never did. And He doesn’t with us either.
There’s a sentence in the workbook that reads, “The wilderness might seem barren and confusing, but it isn’t pointless. The Lord might just be preparing you for a new season.” And boy, isn’t that the truth!
By the end of 2021, God called my husband to be Central Valley Baptist’s pastor, and I suddenly found myself a pastor’s wife. A new season indeed. The trials of the past years have developed enduring strength for better usefulness, and I am so thankful to be used by God in this capacity. We live in beautiful Cascade, a wonderful wilderness all its own with snowy mountains, lush green trees, and a sparkling blue lake.
If you are currently in a wilderness season, be encouraged that often God uses this time to prepare you for a season of fruitfulness. God will strengthen and grow your relationship with Him. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
We are offering the With us in the Wilderness Bible Study for women this season beginning Thursday, January 13th from 10am – 11:30am. Free childcare is provided during the study. Prayerfully consider if the Lord is leading you to attend and if so, sign up HERE.