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So God led the people around by the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.  Exodus 2:18

David is in the wilderness… 1 Samuel 24:1

And He (Jesus) was in the wilderness forty days  Mark 1:13

Moses, David, Jesus are just some of the people of the bible that had a wilderness excursion as part of their faith journey.  We could add Abraham, Elijah, Joseph, Ruth, Daniel, Mary to that list and there are many more.  It seems as if most of the great figures of the bible had a time in the wilderness.  Understand in those stories, that the wilderness was not just a place but also describes other aspects of their existence.  In many of these cases, the location was not only remote but they were also either completely isolated from other people or at least had only a small number with them.  During these times, from a human perspective, it would have been easy for these biblical heroes to feel victimized, abandoned and seemingly left with the only choice to give up.  The wonderful thing about the biblical account versus accounts that you would see from fictional heroes, is that these were real people with real emotions.  In these accounts, with the possible exception of Jesus, each person expresses their fear, their longing for comfort and their complete inability to turn their circumstances around on their own.  It is at their most desperate points that their faith does not desert them, the Most Merciful God demonstrates to them, that He has been with them all along.  Furthermore, God teaches them, that He is the one sufficient to save them from their circumstances, whatever they may be and all He asks is that they believe in Him.

Again be mindful of the fact that wilderness is as much a state of mind as it is a physical location.  Not to sound perverse, but I find comfort in the desperation that Jesus Christ feels in the Garden of Gethsemane as he contemplates the completion of His mission that involves, not only a horrible death, but also shouldering the totality of our sins.  The comfort I find is that My Savior and My Lord, knows the desperation that I feel, though I can never truly understand the depth of His desperation.  His Forgiveness, Mercy and Grace comes from a sense of shared experience.  That Jesus Christ would decide to leave heaven and come down and experience that kind of pain and isolation is such a perfect demonstration of His Love and the Father’s Love for us through His plan.

So, today you find yourself in the wilderness, either physically, mentally, spiritually or a combination of all three.  It may that you have tried all the things that you can think of or that the world tells you, you should do.  All your attempts have led to nothing or perhaps even driven you further into the wilderness.  Take heart knowing that you are in awesome company.  Have faith, that the same God, who was not slow to deliver every single one of those individuals, exalting  His Son, to the place of honor at His Right Hand.  Know, that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ endured His time of wilderness and also experienced triumph over it, will never desert you in your wilderness.  You are never alone.

Be very clear that we have a promised land.  Jesus promised it in His Gospels.  He also told us there would be persecutions and difficult was the way.  Often that path is going to lead through the wilderness.  The world is going to give us all kind of maps to avoid that wilderness at all costs.  Yet it is by traveling through that wilderness exhausting all our human strengths, that we come to understand and then rely on the Power of Our Gracious and Merciful Father, the Love of our Savior Jesus Christ, through the Promise of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that we will reach a destination that is far better than any destination we can reach on our own.

May we find that we are willing to take that journey.  Amen

…That God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near, for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war…… Exodus 2:17

God’s chosen people had gone to Egypt during a time of famine where God had led Joseph to be ahead of them and led Joseph to be the Pharaoh’s primary steward and blessed both the Egyptian’s and His people with food during the famine.

But Egypt was not the land intended for His people and the Egyptians ended up enslaving God’s people.  He heard their prayers and sent them a deliverer.

These and subsequent interactions between God and His people I find so mysteriously amazing and absolutely applicable for today.  Remembering that God created all things including people, thus we are not equals to God, yet He still allows for our ability to say no; to think for ourselves.  As a Loving Parent, He tries to guide and to lay out the way, but as rebellious children, we are given the ability to choose a different path AND of course He knows that.

Do not doubt God’s power.  He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in an instant.  He destroyed the first-born of the Egyptians in a night.  He could have drug His people to the promised land whether they wanted to go or not.  Yet it is not as much the final destination but the how that destination is arrived at.  God had a promised land for His people.  But He wanted His people to want to go to that land.  To understand the land of milk and honey was from Him and that they would Love and worship Him for His Love and providence toward them.

So he knew that if He took the most direct route to the promised land for His people; His people would have to war with the Philistines (a war by the way that God would most assuredly ensure that His people won).  Yet He also knew His people might not have the will to fight that war, even with God on their side, so they might return to Egypt.  The inference there is if they decided to turn back, He would not have stopped them.  So knowing His people better than they know themselves; He decided the best route was through the wilderness.  A route where He was with them every day and night; giving them everything, food, water shelter.  Even then they rebelled but at least their descendants made the promised land.

Fast forward to today.  God has heard our sufferings and knows that we need a Savior to allow us to be in God’s presence.  He sent us His Son Jesus Christ.  Christ is here to lead us from our bondage to the promised land.  Christ knows the best route.  That route may seem to us like a wilderness road.  We look just across the proverbial street, see the destination and say that’s the way we should go but You, Christ are taking us somewhere else.  And like God’s people of old, we have the power to choose to follow Christ’s path laid out to us by God the Father and testified to us through the Holy Spirit, or to decide we know better.

There is a way to know.  The map is in the bible and the key to that map is in the prayerful relationship that we can have with Our Creator God.  May the seeming wilderness you find yourself in today actually be the Perfect Path that God has chosen for you.  How do you know?  Does your spirit feel aligned with where you are going even if the world believe’s you are crazy (kind of like Noah?).  Or is the world giving you two thumbs up but inside you feel like you are totally out of control or even dying?  God is in control and He wants your desire to follow Him.

His way is always the Right Way.  It is up to us to choose.

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