What I Love About The Desert
Walking in the wilderness, well what exactly would that entail?
I have heard some people say for the Believer, wilderness is walking anywhere outside the promised land, and that may be the case, but a question that might baffle the mind is; how could the Children of God step into the wilderness, when they weren’t even in the promised land yet?
Simple; I guess it depends on who they are and where they start from. Once salvation was granted, and the particular child has stepped on a path that would lead them directly to the prosperity God had intended them, the only way they were going to miss the mark, was if the stepped off the path themselves. I guess some of them might find themselves immediately in the realm of the promised land the moment salvation occurs. Others there is a bit of a trek.
I believe as believers we can find ourselves in the promised land without even the need of being brought, this can be back up in Biblical example, as shown by the many of the children of Israel, just by being born there. Or by being the case of the believer, being born again.
And I also believe that a person, such as the idiot who is writing this article, can walk right out of the promised land, and if he is really cleaver, he might just head right directly into the wilderness. Cleaver may not be the proper word here, lets just say blessed.
I knew a man once;
He had everything a man could want, a beautiful queen, of the likes even Esther may have raised an eyebrow to, health, wealth, friends, respect; from family, friends, but most importantly from his wife and maybe even himself, ok hats a stretch.
One might say everything he put his hand to prospered, milk and honey, everything turned to Gold, when people would say “life is good!”, he would casually nod in agreement, because for him it surely was. How often does a person hear after the fact, when things are so good, that so many around them watch and say; “Oh, if I but had it as them?”
But just like the Children of God, what happened?
He got complacent, selfish, started looking at how to make it more about him then anyone else, add another earthly pleasure upon an already abundant heap. He did the David thing, he had more then a man could possibly ever enjoy, but saw just one more bathtub morsel and had to have it. Entitlement became a word very familiar with the image that stared back out at him in the morning from the mirror?
This resulted in wandering, first just a step or two from home, but eventually the time outside the comforts of that resting place God had so graciously granted him, became so extended that home was even beginning to lose hold of its recognition in his heart.
Then in one sudden dramatic swoop everything was taken, not by the God that gave it, because thats not how He works. Not by the result of actions, because God doesn’t punish the innocent for our actions. Not because of the enemies attack, well not directly, because as much as the enemy might like to, he can not kill.
God’s gifts are never taken back, yes we can choose not to care for them, and as demonstrated in a precious flower, they will wither and wilt, leaving but a dried remnant of the original, lifeless, ugly, but God still doesn’t take it back.
Now when it comes to giving from the enemy, that is a whole different question. The enemy only gives when it has some kind of personal gain that benefits him. And when that personal benefit has been exhausted, the personal gratification satisfied, the showing off to his friends, the payment for some bill he just can’t get out of, the enemy immediately begins his plan on how to take back what he gave. Selfishness and greed wrap around his dark heart like the stink on a bear.
Kill no, but the enemy can just whisper in men’s ear, tempt them to do bad things, prompt them to make dark decisions, dark sin’s, bad choices, one after another, many throughout a world full of fallen, a bad choice here, an angry gesture there, a man chooses to try to beat a red light, and two innocent creations cross a path, a path that is not so good, and a bad things befall good people.
But we are not here to talk about the enemy are we?
So there you have it, our spoiled little man find himself wandering on the fringe, and before you know it, you are so knee deep in the wilderness, that the memories of a life long passed, one filled with joy, compassion, love, worth, seem so far distant, you begin to wonder if you had ever experienced them at all.
You are lost.
Wilderness walking, let me define it for you, oh, and how would I know?, because I’ve been there! and maybe I still am;
Wilderness is a place of utter depression, like the deepest valley on earth, a place of the greatest pressure can be found, where blistering heat and chilling cold bring their cruel lash across the backs of those who have unwittingly walk in. Except this depression has no cure, at least not found in the promises of a little pill. No, there is but One who can cure, One, who the can direct the lost wanderer onto a path that will lead out.
Wilderness itself is a deep seeded hunger that you can never fill by the works of your hand, every bite is as dry as the land, if there is any remote sign of flavor it’s immediately lost in the first few bites, only to be replaced with that bland dusty uncaring taste of dry sand, lacking all body, very little salt. And as we attempt to fill the gaping hole that rests deep within, all we create is more pain, more hunger, and a heavier burden for our legs to carry. Linger long enough, and the shear weight will bind us to our pallet seemingly forever.
This is a place of burning thirst that can not be quenched with any amount of water, alcohol, soda pop, tears, and no matter how much you drink, moments later thirst returns like the vultures returning to finish the dead. Their uncaring and unloving eyes want only one thing, the few succulent tears you might have left, maybe take your eyes while they are there.
Sure there is water that is provided, from one stone to the next, but how does a few drops quench the thirst of dying man, when the scorching sun burns the very flesh from the tongue. And stone are hard objects when it come to getting anything out of them.
All spirits of oppression seem to find their place on the backs of their victims much easier here, this is the place of the vultures, scorpions in shoes, snakes in your bed, ever digging their claws into the flesh, their stinger on the most tender part of your foot, or their teeth sunk deep in a place where we feel the most vulnerable. Precipitating ever stronger reactions as the daggers seem less a wound and more extensions of their selves.
In the wilderness there is a loneliness who’s satisfaction seems only steps away, yet continually moves a step back with each one you take forward. Oh yes, you can try to fill this pit in your chest with man created substitutes, and they may also for a moment fill the gap, but the minute the instrument of your satisfaction moves out of sight so does the feeling of relief.
Loneliness is the most desperate of base feelings, what is wrong with you, you might ask yourself as the pressure that weighs down on your shoulders like a thousand tons suffocates the very answer out of your lips. There is what seems to be an ever pressing dullness that weighs down the very air out of your longs, making your heart beat like a sprinter twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and sleep is the only friend you can call your own. But sometimes even that friend leaves you.
You know you have found the deepest place in the wilderness when freedom that is offered from water no longer represents a quenching of thirst, but a means to silence the pain of this life. A choice must be made, die, or begin to die to desires of the past, and reach for a hand out of this place.
When all hope on self is cast aside and trust in Him is the only choice, we call out for Him in our desperation, our torment, our need, and He always answers.
Miraculously, as the veils of our own creations begin to be discarded like the burdensome extra cloths hanging on us like chains in a hot deserts sun, and we eventually get down to the basics we need to survive, it is here that we look up and see what has been right in front of us all along; Him, Jesus, in His wonderful glory, hand reaching out, soft comforting voice, cool spring water, to quench any thirst, fulfill any hunger, relax any burden, in a flash of an instant.
We fail, we walk in, we fall down, we doubt, we get back up, we fall again, we learn, we grow, we humble ourselves, we cry, we come to realizations, we gain wisdom, eventually we even start to walk out again, we grow, we overcome, we develop into something stronger, greater, and purer then we had ever thought possible. Someone He always knew we could be, someone we were designed to become.
A stronger relationship is developed with Him, He becomes our teacher, He becomes a brother, He becomes a friend, He becomes a Father, and all along He imparts more wisdom bits and pieces as we can digest them, as He might rain down cool sweet rain on scorched face.
A kinship is branded in our eyes in which one begins to see Him, at first but a cloud, later a burning fire that melts away all the imperfections that taints the purity of that in which cloud our vision, making us just as He would have us. A Pillar of Fire that we gladly approach even chase, in our desire to follow Him.
We learn to hear His voice, turning from fear and lending ear to the Fathers call as we hear Him more and louder. Subtle and soft is His voice at first, but as the recognition increases so does the thunder of His voice. Funny how a child can clearly hear his Fathers voice across a loud room of people, so is it when we have gone to wilderness school.
We learn to depend on Him with our every need. Jesus said it right there in the wilderness, “Man can not live on bread alone, but on the every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Even to the point of possibly displaying Him in the shadow of our face.
What is a little famine in a land, when we have survived stomach aching hunger to the point where even broth has become a feast of kings? The bare necessities of the desert, create in us an appreciation of Gods gift in every succulent bite.
What is a little thirst when we have survived endless miles of scorching heat, cracked dry lips, and sand laced tongue, without a single drink? After a post in the desert, water takes on a taste all it own, a man will become a connoisseur of the clear sparkling purity, to the point to marvel any wine master.
What is some tough labor, when we have carried burdens that would cripple oxen? The muscles a man receives from the wilderness are not just for mere earthly loads, but give him strength of character, fortitude and courage, granting not only the ability to kill giants, the fearlessness to face them, but the ability to pick them up and cast them into the sea with just a little tiny faith.
What is a few nights of solitude, a moment in prison, being separated from God’s gifted earthly loves, when we have survived countless lonely nights in the desert? When the threat of wild beasts, the elementary extremes, or the unprotected attacks of the enemy horde has been overcome, and the ever present comfort of The Father can be felt now continually, loneliness no longer has any meaning.
What is the meager pressure that could be imposed by man, when we have carried a crushing stress that the wilderness offers? When a person has endured the overwhelming burdens of the wilderness and finally toss them from their tired yet strengthened and more importantly veteran shoulders, small insignificant pressures placed on us by mere men seem about as significant at the pests of a gnat. What is amazing is that we also gain the ability to brush them off in the same way.
Glory to God for the deliverance out of the wilderness, no, Thanks be to God for the time I spent in it!
To be continued… when did this man get to leave the wilderness?
By Peter Colla
“Dear Lord Jesus, help me not only to recognize my time in the wilderness as truly a blessing from You, but help me to receive all You would give me there, and finally Lord don’t forget Your servant, lead me out into Your promised land again.”