In talking to a friend this week, it was obvious she felt deserted by God. Have you ever felt that way? You are doing what you feel God has led you to do, you've been seeking His will and His face, all to be left feeling like He's completely forgotten you. You're wandering in some no-man's land and you're beginning to wonder if you're doing the right thing? Maybe this wasn't the direction you were supposed to go? If so, God would've fixed the problem by now. Maybe I just need to give up. After all, God would've heard my prayers and answered them long before this point. I just don't think I can make it another day. I've exhausted all of my faith.
In homeschooling Gracie, she's been learning about the Biblical significance of Asia and Europe and the history behind them. One country we've studied a great deal about this semester is Egypt. The eastern part of Egypt is called the Sinai Peninsula. It's a triangular piece of land, about 23,000 square miles, and it's the land Moses and the children of Israel wandered in for 40 years. There's just no way to get from Egypt to Canaan without traveling through alot of desert. This peninsula is one of the driest, bleakest, loneliest places on earth. Surviving a desert experience like that changes you. The Israelites who entered the Promised Land were not the same complaining weaklings who initially left Egypt. Most of the slave generation had died and only a few remained. Forty years had passed and a new generation of tested, tried and true children had grown up and matured.
Joshua was one of those. He had suffered along with his fellow wanderers, gone through countless delays and trials, yet Joshua matured. He started out as one of Moses' spies, warriors and then began the preparation of leading Israel after Moses' death.
So what did this desert experience accomplish for the children of Israel and for people like Joshua? Moses tells them in Deuteronomy 8:2, "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands." Moses goes on to tell them in Deuteronomy 30:16, "Love the Lord your God, walk in his ways, and keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess."
With every test in the desert and when it seems God is absent and everything is going wrong, will you still trust Him enough to patiently allow Him to prepare you for what's ahead? This desert spot we often find ourselves in because we follow Him doesn't happen because God isn't paying attention, because He's angry at us or because He's forgotten we're still down here. Instead, it happens for a good and important reason--it is an invaluable lesson of preparation for the blessing of what is to come. This vast desert is God's gift to your future! Can you wander in it alittle while longer?