While I would love to say that you and I will never experience a wilderness time, I am constrained by the truth of biblical principle. We will all certainly go through our own time in the wilderness. The wilderness I’m referring to is not a physical one but a spiritual one. One of the first biblical examples of such a time is the wilderness period of 400 years of slavery that God’s children faced in Egypt. This was closely followed by another 40 years wandering in the wilderness following the exodus from Egypt. When Saul was trying to capture and murder David, he fled to the wilderness and sought refuge there. Following Jesus’ baptism, He too was driven to the desert by the Spirit of God. He was there for 40 days and nights. In all these examples, there was a set time to stay in the wilderness.
The wilderness is often a place of character building that we pass through on our journey to God’s promises. However, all too often, we get confused and perplexed by the complexities of the wilderness. This causes many of us to fail to perceive what God is trying to achieve by allowing us pass through the wilderness. As a result, we unwittingly spend much longer than we ought to in such seasons.
I’m beginning to realise that we help determine the length of time we will have to spend in our wilderness season. How we submit ourselves to God’s sanctification work in such times will often determine how long we will end up wandering in the wilderness. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 and Hebrews 3:16-19, we are clearly warned to learn from the mistakes made by the Israelites of old.
When we study their 40-year journey through the wilderness, one of the things that characterised their attitude towards God was unbelief. From that root of unbelief in their hearts, the symptom that gave them away outwardly was their persistent murmuring and complaining. I personally find murmuring and complaining to be one of the greatest snares I face as a Christian especially during wilderness seasons. It delayed the Israelites from reaching their promised land and I believe it will have the same negative effect on us too. How many times can I truly say that I find myself in a desolate place and I’m not murmuring and complaining? I have to be honest and admit that I’m still very much a work in progress in this area. It is so easy to focus on our problems rather than God’s goodness when we are in a wilderness season.
Another snare in the wilderness that is worth mentioning is fear. Just as the Israelites were paralysed by fear invoked by sighting giants that were obstructing their access to God’s promises, we too must take precaution not to fall into the same trap. How often do we allow fear of resistant forces paralyse us from marching ahead into God’s promises? We see giants in our future and immediately turn around petrified rather than remembering the size of the Giant Whose everlasting arms you’re being carried on.
When the passover lambs set the Israelites free from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, they didn’t immediately enter into God’s promises. They had to go through the wilderness first. We are also on a similar journey in our christian walk. Jesus, the ultimate Passover Lamb set us free from the grip of sin and death. However, some pastors wrongly teach that from the point when we make a decision to follow Christ, everything becomes honky dory! In reality, we soon enter into our own time in the wilderness. It is a necessary part of the route to the promise. The goal of the wilderness is to help the saint trust in God at a deeper level. In that place, we learn more about His love, protection and provision. We cannot get to our promised land without first going through the wilderness. The good news is that God is right there with you and He longs to bring you through this season. Don’t go back to Egypt or shortchange yourself by abandoning the wilderness training. It is what prepares us to become overcomers in this life. The sooner we stopped murmuring and complaining and turned to Him for clarification on why we are in the wilderness and what He aims to accomplish during our time there, the sooner we will enrich our souls and advance through the wilderness.
- Murmuring and Complaining Will Keep You From The Promised Land (dmariepowell.wordpress.com)
- Complaining is not Trusting (j4man.wordpress.com)