Do we ever stop and think about our desert/wilderness times? The wilderness figures at critical junctures in the life of Jesus. If Jesus experienced the wilderness, then there is a lesson there for us. God did not deliver idle words, but living words for learning into the book we live by, the Holy Word of God, the Bible.
When we look at desert and wilderness times, what can we learn? First, we have to break down the difference between desert and wilderness, or at least I need to.
There is a difference between desert (dry, barren, without life) and wilderness (wild, unsettled, natural state). When I think about either of these environments, I know that I would need to be prepared to survive them. We often find ourselves in one or the other, from our choices or from the decisions of others that directly affect us.
I don't know about you, but for me, I'm a fixer. I want to help. I know that I'm not alone in this. God reveals, I see and do. There are times though that my hands are tied.
So, I'll share the 2 x 4 story of God. My husband and I were sitting in a worship time many years ago now. We were about 12 rows back on the east side of the sanctuary of FB.PLV on the west end of the pew. We had a guest sharing from the pulpit. We were walking in a desert fire as a family. We were not prepared to face what we were facing, but our faith was strong.
As I listened, I cried out to God that someone needed these shared words. Over and over, I cried out. Suddenly, a 2 x4, about 12 feet long, came crashing through an upper stained glass window on the west wall of the church. It hit me in the head. My body took the blow. God said, "This is what it takes! You can only control your relationship with me. You walk with me, and I will be with you. You lift your cries and concerns to me in prayer, and I will be faithful to answer. You can't fix what you have no control over."
As followers of Christ, we dug in. We entered the wilderness where things were wild and untamed and were met with the natural state of God...love, assurance, faithfulness. Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.
Life gets messy. We can only control our relationship with God and pray for everything else.
As I move into 2020, I am so humbled to be a Child of God. I watched a movie today based on the book, A Promise to Astrid. The acting was a little overboard for me, but the storyline is how I want to continue to live my life, listening to God's instruction given through the Holy Spirit. I want to be used to fix issues when others find themselves struggling, physically, emotionally, spiritually.
After being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights in the Judaean Desert. During this time, Satan came to Jesus and tried to tempt him. Jesus, having refused each temptation, Satan then departed, and Jesus returned to Galilee to begin his ministry.
We know that we will be tempted to move away from God. There is a war of good and evil that is battling for our soul. I pray I refuse the temptations, yet, I know I will fail some because I am human. I want to overcome and continually find myself in ministry, sharing; my time, my resources, God's love.