This… wilderness. Where God’s people wandered aimlessly for 40 years before they were fit for the promised land. Where John the Baptist exercised his devotion and complete surrender to his creator. Where Jesus was tested for 40 days before he set out for ministry. And the season of life in which the apostle Paul had to re-learn every thought pattern and belief that had previously defined him. All of these happened in a wilderness. And that sums this up perfectly… for this is mine.
Deserted. Uncomfortable - painful even. Confused. Empty-handed. Alone. Even still… If I had the choice, I would choose this same path again. I may have kept my convictions to myself in the process but… we all learn our lessons in our own way. And I still would have had to come alone.
Conviction: a fixed belief. In other words - it’s not changing (even if sometimes I wish it would.) The only thing that is changing is me. I can’t be the same naïve people-pleaser that I used to be. Nor can I continue living as if my actions don’t have power to build or destroy. Because they do. I’ve had my seasons of misguided self-sufficiency. I’ve had my seasons of insecurity. But this season I am in, (be it a wilderness) I have irrefutable clarity on who God has created and equipped me to be. I have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:15, Phil 2:5) I have the power of life and death on my lips. (Prov 18:21) and I can move mountains. (Mark 11:23) Every decision that I make and every word I speak causes ripple effects. Whether I like it or not I AM changing the world around me for better or worse. And if anything matters, everything matters! I sometimes wish I just knew how to be something in between all or nothing… but I can’t. I can’t just succumb to the matrix of this life. I can’t chase after the American dream while the rest of the world suffers for it. I don’t buy into the lies that what I am searching for can be found in anything this world has to offer. The joys of simplicity and the miracle of the moment beckon me. I just want to be where He is…
the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life -
is not of the Father but is of the world.
And the world is passing away,
but the will of God abides forever.”
So… Here I stand in the stillness of this desolate place. Where the influences of man and the distractions of my own plans are nowhere to be found, and I can truly hear His voice. It comforts and guides me. And suddenly I don’t care if it takes 40 days or 40 years… I know the one who led me here and I trust Him. I asked for a change of heart and I got it. My soul craves something different, something deeper. I know that I will find it here… and just knowing that enables me to embrace this season more fully.
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…
and this hope will not lead to disappoint.
For we know how dearly God loves us,
because he has given us the Holy Spirit
to fill our hearts with his love [through this trial].