“2 Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, ARISE, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.” Joshua 1:2-3
Have you been in a Wilderness lately?
Me too! And I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt… the Wilderness is not our home. It’s not where we belong.
So, what is the Wilderness and how do we get out of it?
You see, it’s easy for us to confuse the Wilderness we go through with a season that’s hard or a storm that we face.
But, God’s Word teaches us that a Wilderness is not a storm we face or a season we go through cirucmstantially. It’s a place we get stuck in or choose to remain in spiritually and emotionally.
For the children of Israel, the Wilderness was not God’s destination. It was a 40 year, self-inflicted pit stop along their way to the Promise Land. The same is true for us. It’s not God’s destination for His children. The Promise Land is.
The Wilderness is the affect… not the cause. So, if you’re in a Wilderness right now, it’s important to determine why. What is it that has you wandering in the Wilderness that you find yourself in?
Wildernesses come in variety of ways.
- Some, are wildernesses of our choosing. (Like the children of Israel, our sin, unbelief, and even the distractions of this life can land us in the Wilderness.)
- Some, are wildernesses that come with being alive. (Tragedies happen. Pandemics wreak havoc on this planet. Life can be messy and hard.)
- Some are wildernesses that are inflicted on us by others. (Like Joshua, who wasn’t in the Wilderness as a result of anything he did.)
Joshua didn’t choose his wilderness. Remember, Joshua & Caleb were the ones who believed God. But Joshua was swept up in the consequences of other people’s decisions and had to suffer through their wilderness experience with them – because of them.
The other spies teach us an important lesson about our choices. We need to be careful about how we respond to God’s leading in our lives because our choices can have profound effect on those around us.
Listen, sweet friend, don’t drag someone else into your Wilderness.
That’s what happened to Joshua.
But Joshua didn’t let the the wilderness that was inflicted upon him, affect his faith in or his obedience to God’s call on him.
When the Lord placed the mission field on my heart long before He put it on my husband’s heart, I spent many years waiting on the Lord to get my hubby’s heart just as ready as mine was.
Sometimes, I waited well.
Other times, I allowed my Wait to become my Wilderness.
When I waited well, I prayed, planned and prepared as if we were ready to board the plane.
When my Wait became my Wilderness, I flailed, wailed, wandered, and wrestled with God. Frustrated by what I couldn’t control. Exhausted from the anxious wrestling going on in my heart.
Don’t let your Wait become your Wilderness... and don’t waste your Wait. DRAW CLOSER to God. PRAY. PREPARE. RESEARCH about where you believe God wants you to be and OBEY God where you are NOW.
BTW – One thing I’ve learned about waiting on God is that “WHAT WE CALL ‘THE WAIT’ GOD CALLS A NECESSARY PART of our JOURNEY.”
THERE’S ANOTHER ISSUE THAT COMES WITH BEING IN THE WILDERNESS.
Sometimes, we’ve lingered so long in the Wilderness, that the dust starts sticking to us… it becomes part of us and the Wilderness becomes how we describe ourselves – it becomes our identity.
You may never forget your past and all that you’ve been through… but you aren’t supposed to live there.
When I was a kid, I loved to watch CHARLIE BROWN? My favorite character was Snoopy. But there was this one lovable but needy character named Linus. He walked around with a blue blanket everywhere he went. It became part of who he was.
Perhaps, some of you have been clinging to your loss, or your pain, or the hard places in your life and you’ve become like Linus, clinging to his blanket.
YOU CAN’T ARISE FROM YOUR WILDERNESS IF YOU’RE STILL CLINGING TO WHAT PUT YOU THERE.
THE WILDERNESS MAY BE WHERE YOU’VE BEEN BUT IT’S NOT WHO YOU ARE.
Don’t confuse what God has allowed you to go through with where you’ve chosen to remain.
We will never ARISE from our Wilderness until we are ready to do whatever it takes to escape it. Even if that means letting go of what we’ve been clinging to for so long, it’s become our identity.
It’s time to stop clinging to your wilderness blanket & ARISE – because the Wilderness is not God’s destination for you. It’s not your home. The Promise Land of the Christian life is where you belong.
I’ll share more next week about some next steps to help you know how to ARISE from Your Wilderness and begin living the life that Jesus died to give you.
Until then, I’d love for you to share where you are in your journey or how I can pray for you in the comments below.
*This has been a partial excerpt from Stephanie’s conference and retreat message series, ARISE.