Saturday, 10 October 2020

Going Through the Desert

 Scripture:  Deuteronomy 1 v 19 - 21: "And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us; and we came to Kadeshbarnea.

20  And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us.
21  Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged."

At some time in our life with God we will have a desert, or wilderness, experience, in which our only aim is to survive and find a way out.  These are mostly experiences of the soul and flesh, rather than actually living in a desert region.

The first hint that we are in a wilderness experience is sudden separation from familiar surroundings and people.  For example people testing positive for Covid-19 needing hospitalization.  Suddenly they are in the midst of strangers, fighting for their lives and totally separated from family and friends!  Many do not come out alive and die without the comfort of those dearest to them. 

That's in extreme cases but it leaves a person in a situation of possibly praying and seeking God for help.  Alone with Jesus and desperate for survival, can bring about miracles.  We have been praying for one man for six weeks who was on his last but bit by tiny bit he has been released from ICU, taken off oxygen, sent to rehab to learn how to walk, talk and function mentally again.  He is past the worst of it and back in physical contact with his wife.  We give all the praise to our loving Saviour for His mercy and grace.

"Look at the history of God's dealings with his saints. He led his people out of Egypt by the hand of Moses...through the desert headed to the promised Land. 
John the Baptist lived in the desert until the
word of the Lord came to him. Jesus was "led by the Spirit" into the desert to be tested by the devil. 
Paul spent years in the desert before his commissioning as an Apostle. God has used the drought of many deserts to forge some of His finest saints."
Bryan Hupperts excerpt from Are You in the Wilderness? 1997.

He also says: "
There are some beautiful things growing in the desert. Be patient and let Him finish what he has started in you. It takes a deep, well-developed root system, to be able to not only nourish a plant, but
produce and feed the growing fruit on its' branches. If there are no roots, there will be no fruit. And His goal is to bring you to a place of fruitfulness."

We may be falsely accused by a rival of fraud, and discover that friends and family are very aloof in shock and disappointment.  In a true story told by a pastor he saw from an office tower a very pampered man arriving at the building opposite in a Rolls Royce, dressed in Armani, and fawned over by staff.  The Lord spoke to this pastor and said, "What would have to happen to this man if he was to become a missionary to people in Mongolia?"

The pastor responded that he would have to lose his reputation, his job, his expensive habits, his big bank account and be humbled, saved and committed to obedience.  He was rather shocked to hear that this man had been accused of fraud, fired from his position, was in prison and his wife was divorcing him.  He never knew if he ended up in Mongolia.

We are praying for a couple who have lost everything.  They were once committed Christians but circumstances, doubts, worldliness and mounting debt drove them into the wilderness of not knowing which way to turn.  The churches they knew were all about money, first, last and all the time.  They had no memory of the love of Jesus or even how to find Him again.  But He never lets go of His lost lambs!  He leaves those that are safe to find the ones that have strayed and fallen down cliffs, and brings in the rescuers to lead them back to Him.

Going through the desert always has a purpose for pruning the dead branches and making us more fruitful, more energised, more obedient to the Lord.  We are ready to turn the other cheek, and go the extra mile, to achieve the will of the Father.  So if you are experiencing this wilderness experience, don't despair, never give up, its a major learning curve that will bless you forever. 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You that we have Jesus as an example of a desert experience, and His victory over Satan gives us valuable lessons. (Matthew 4 v 1 - 11).  All of Your children go through this at some time so guide us and give us ears to hear and a mind to understand.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.