When will we get back to normal? Will we ever get back to normal? When will school start? Will, we ever quit blaming each other? Who will when the election? How will things change then? Will they change? Can they change? Where is God in all of this? If He’s so powerful why isn’t He doing anything?
We are all waiting for something…we are all wondering about something. We are all out of control in some way. And let’s be honest, most of us don’t like it.
About 4 years ago God impressed on my heart the verses from Isaiah 43: 18-19, and recently He brought them back to me with a fresh look. The amplified version paints the picture for us: 18 “Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past. 19 “Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. 4 years ago, I sensed the reality that what we have known will no longer be the same; that we will be asked to move into a new season. In hindsight, this is so evident and clear but at that time, all I knew was that it resonated for me and if it was for me perhaps for some other people too? So I shared it with my clients and friends if I thought it would be helpful for them. At that time I understood through my counselor lens, that to move into the new, to utilize the 'wilderness' time effectively, we needed to grieve the past. We needed to grieve well, so we could leave the past in God’s hands and move into the new that He has for us. See, if we're holding the past in our hands, if we haven’t dealt with the pain of the past it makes it hard to move on, it is hard to perceive the new God intends for us. Pain blinds us. Or sometimes we want to hang onto the past because it was 'good' and we are uncertain of what's ahead. Either way, our heart stance doesn't leave room for God to hand us the new thing, because we are clinging to the past so tightly. We do this through our hearts and minds.
So, I have been on a journey of ‘wilderness’ so to speak from that time frame on, and thought I had come out of it in April, as COVID ramped up and God gave me the ‘green light’ to begin my Podcast. But just this morning, He redefined it for me. Maybe like you, there has been deep deep stirring in my heart and soul about all of the unrest going on in the world. So deep that I'm not sure what to do with it and don't totally understand it. And yet, on the human level there is a desire to make a difference; impact the darkness with His light; help the hurting in some way. At times I feel desperate to take action. And yet, I’ve learned the hard way, going before God is not good, even though what I am doing seems ‘good’ in itself. I've learned in these 4 years of wilderness to wait on Him. “Deep calls to deep”…in this desperate heart stance; yearning, asking and pleading, He spoke to my soul that it is still my ‘wilderness’ time. Words I had just read in “The Gospel According to Job” by Mike Mason, resonated as God spoke about His timetable to me. Paraphrasing Mike’s words here: weakness, perseverance, prayer that requires a long waiting; hope, peace; Holy, heavenly love between brothers and sisters- all disarms every particle of strength the devil and his demons have, more so than supernatural power, because they are used to that. WOW! I sat stunned…the very things most of us call ‘bad and hard”, i.e. waiting, weakness, perseverance, longing in prayer…these very things, disarm the enemy perhaps even MORE so than supernatural miracles (those can be done apart from Jesus). As God took me back to the scriptures in Isaiah and I relooked at them in the light of today’s happenings with this new illumination from the Holy Spirit, I read on to verses 20-21: The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
In our 'wasteland' today, our lack, our loss, our devastation; He promises that He will bring streams, a drink…He is our living water. In our dried-up desert places, where there seems no life…He promises Himself…living water.
Why? Because if you call Him Savior; He calls you chosen! And His covenantal love for you promises to provide for your needs. Are we allowing our lack, our pain, and our wilderness to keep us from seeing, what the animals naturally see? Are we looking to Him or for Him in our places of devastation and lack? Are we remembering that He can make a way, where there seems no way? When unexpected provision comes out of nowhere, who do you praise? Who do you give credit to? When your ‘thirst’ is quenched how do you respond? We (just like the Israelites) have not been faithful to call out to Him in our distress or give Him the praise for the provision when it comes! And yet, because of HIS faithfulness, He makes a way for us no matter what. (keep reading on to Isaiah 44 as an example). HIS CRAZY UNDERSERVED Faithfulness, despite our unfaithfulness. That is Grace, and it’s all around us. If we pray for eyes to see it. If we allow healthy grieving to clear out our vision. If we don’t allow the enemies lies or cultural ‘truism’ to keep us blind. Then we can perceive. He provides in our desert places and in the wasteland and we are partakers of the hope and peace that ONLY comes from being loved by God and trusting His finished works in us and for us, and this my friend, disarms the enemy! As we receive His unconditional, covenantal love, it then flows through us like living water and provides drink for others. This is His Kingdom commodity. True Holy, Heavenly love between humans (not the imitation love from the world), is the greatest enemy slayer. Hence why the enemy wants us to dive in and “do something” regarding the issues of our day. Like, he did with Jesus in the desert; he wants to tempt us to abort God’s best and link up with the world’s trending topic. You’ll “make a difference”; gain lots of followers; you’ll be seen as a hero; you can have recognition and power, you must speak up or else people won't know the truth” or whatever lie is tantalizing to your flesh, it’s there that the devil will play his card. To be fair, some of us are called into the front lines right now. And yet, some of us are called to sit back, and wait… Don’t be fooled…waiting is an active word. Waiting indicates you are looking, expecting something to come or happen. Or someone. In our case, as believers, we are waiting and watching for God. For what He wants to provide for us and those we love, in our desert places…in the place where you are thirsty; parched; desperate. And waiting is hard. It is a faith muscle that consists of controlled strength. Restraint. It's easier to knee-jerk and take action or to just disengage and not care. Waiting is the in-between…perhaps like birthing pains. Painful, yet necessary for new life to be birthed.
What are you thirsty for? Justice? Peace? Unity? Freedom from anxiety? Healing? A vision for the future? He promises He will provide water. Living water. HIMSELF. In fact, as New Testament believers we have something Isaiah and his contemporaries did not. We have the assurance and knowledge that He has already given us everything to have life and life abundant in Him. And perhaps this season of wilderness waiting is about redefining what that means? How we have pictured and even experienced "life and life abundant" up until this season of our lives, maybe quite different then what it will look like as we move forward. Are we willing to wait? Are we willing to allow God to write the story He wants written as He takes us through the wilderness? In truth He’s already written it, so are we willing to let go enough; sit back and wait; lay low; perhaps ‘do nothing’ so that His best can emerge in our lives. His more as we do less… He wastes no pain. His purposes are being worked out. We can fret and get in His way or we can stop, wait, watch, trust and listen. He will make a way in the wilderness and brings streams in our desert places…HE IS FAITHFUL. In the chaotic cultural climate we are in, we all have a grand invitation to experience these truths with God, not just in theory but in reality. And so like Job, we too can say: “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” We learn about God afresh; not platitudes or plagiarism, but a personal intimate knowing of our one true God. The God who was, and is and will be. The one we can hang our hopes on with certainty.