There are times when we Christians feel deserted by those we normally relate with well and nobody seems able to understand what is going on with us, even our spouse/best friend and family. These times can be frustrating. At these times we can feel quite alone among people we love and who love us. There is a reason for these times and it has everything to do with spiritual and character growth in us. In some of these times we can feel like we are not clearly hearing what God might be saying to us.
The first thing is that this is normal if you are journeying with God. These times are times of growth, even when we feel like they are barren desert times rather than any other kind of wilderness. The second is that there will be a reason or a point to the experience you are walking through that reduces the effect of the world on you and opens up more Kingdom aligned life and perspective inside you. Some translations use the word wilderness, some desert. The original word indicates a place where there are no people, not necessarily a type of terrain. These times can feel as dry as the scorched sand, or like hiking through a forest, or even like pushing through jungle. A wilderness experience can be full of growth for you that is, for a while unconnected to other people.
We go through pivotal transition times in this walk with our Father that are everything to do with internal transformation from internal agreement with fear, condemnation, orphaned thinking, striving, captivity/slavery, and religion. We are transitioning to His Kingdom opposites, just as Jesus commission for ministry (1) was – to freedom, to whole heartedness, to clearly see and embrace more good news, to see properly, to lean into acceptability to Him as sons. This greater freedom and larger perspective to live from is delicious and we can recognise and walk into wilderness times with anticipation of change instead of uncertainty and concern. We can walk through these times much better by leaning into our Father’s embrace and surrendering everything to Him. That’s what a son does. A servant just does what he is told but a son leans into his Dad’s love and approval. (2)
A wilderness time should not last long. The nation of Israel were only a few days travel from the promised land when they left Egypt, but they were afraid to walk into the land, and wandered there in the wilderness much longer than they should have. We can cooperate with what He is doing when we realise we are in a wilderness and the transformation can come quickly, or we can struggle over it, making the time longer. Don’t be afraid, trust Him, seeking to delight in Him and always surrender everything for transformation.
There are various triggers for a wilderness time, however our Dad is always using these episodes to give us transition. He has our highest good at heart, always and we can trust Him to draw us closer through these and every other way He interacts with us. He is interested in healing our brokenness and transitioning us from world conscious living to Kingdom conscious living. That is all about our active and non conscious state of heart. We initially enter His Kingdom with pre-programmed world aligned heart attitudes. Some of these change rapidly as Jesus takes up residence in our spirit and His freedom flows in us from the inside out. Other internal attitudes, woundedness and agreements take time to heal and shift.
When you next feel like you are in a wilderness time, make it all about surrender to Dad and leaning on Him. Think about what He has promised you and who He says you are. Open your heart to Him and let Him have all your broken bits. Be blessed.
1. Luke 4:18 (Isaiah 61:1) “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. To set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
2. John 8:35, 36