Jesus rebuked Peter in Matthew 16:23, …”you do not have in mind the things of God but the things of men.” Which do you have in mind? Are you prepared, equipped, toughened for the season ahead? Jesus never said we wouldn’t endure a season of difficulty but that after a little while God Himself would perfect, confirm, establish, and make us resolute.
The Hebrew meaning for wilderness is “place of the speaking.” God brings us into the desert to speak tenderly to us, bringing comfort and humility. This is also a time of testing, which prepares us with the experiences we need to back up our beliefs.
God used this same model with the Patriarchs before they entered their promised land. They came to realize that the answers to their prayers came in the journey itself not necessarily the destination.
One of the first lessons I learned in this school was not to run from pain and difficulty. When we embrace our pain, it becomes an avenue to our freedom and grace for another.
We read in Genesis 32 that Jacob had to face his fears, doubts, motives of selfish ambition, and striving. He wrestled with God and hung on until God gave him a new name but not before he received a limp we can all relate to. Why the limp? It is a reminder to Jacob and us not to rely on ourselves but God.
Another life changing lesson of the desert is the transformation of our thinking. The Word teaches us not to lean on our own understanding or our minds of reason of anymore. (Prov. 3:5) The Holy Spirit now writes His commands on our hearts and minds to guide us in each new situation in our lives.
God’s tour of the desert showed me how to practice walking this new way in order to exchange my weaknesses for his strength. We learn to surrender to His care those we love and things we hold dear, rely on His faith when ours runs out, trust for provision, and give Him glory.
How do these lessons apply to you? We learn to hear His voice and obey in this season because we have never been this way before. (Josh. 4:3) As we obey, we become all God intends us to be. We can expect a time of setting apart from the world. He plans to do amazing things among us as we enter the promised land to represent Him.
What will this transformation look like in your life? We will have a different perspective as we embrace our trials and realize these obstacles turn into roads of opportunity, freedom, and hope for others. This new outlook from our experiences will increase our endurance to stay the course and become strong to face and overcome the “giants” in our land.
Help us to learn a new way of thinking as you train us in a solitude season. Help us always remember that you work all things together for our good. Help us surrender to you the people and things You may ask in this season and have Your mind in us guiding us. Help us embrace our pain that you may turn it into Your grace for another.
In Jesus name,