Sunday, 18 March 2012
This subject has come up over and over again over the past 3 or 4 weeks (maybe longer!) so I'm getting the feeling that this is just as much for me as it is for me to share with you!
It really struck a chord with me when I read it though 'wilderness mentality'. I'm currently going through Exodus as part of a one year bible plan and it amazes me that a journey that should have taken 11 days took 40 years because the Israelites chose to believe someone's report instead of the promise that God had given them! Ultimately they weren't dreaming big enough, all they could see was the size of the problem instead of seeing the size of their God! It may seem crazy to me or you that the Israelites ended up spending 40 years in the desert but when we think about it how many of us have faced the same trials or situations or 'mountains' again and again because all we could see was the mountain and not who God is?
1 Peter 1:6-7 says this 'So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honour on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.'
God uses the trials in our lives to test our faith and refine it and strengthen it, if we give up then far from our faith being strengthened we take a big step back in our relationship with God. I've often found that if I don't learn something the first time round, a little while later God will gently remind me of what He is saying again, often by using a new trial or situation.
This past year has probably been the toughest year of my life but through it all I've learnt so much more about trusting God and giving Him control over my life. These aren't new lessons for me but it took something as serious as my illness for me to learn it with a new depth of understanding of what it means to really hand it over to God and I would like to say that my faith has really grown through it.
The best thing is God is a faithful God, a loving God and a patient God. This is so clearly demonstrated throughout Exodus and He has so clearly demonstrated this in my own life too. God loves me too much to leave me where I am and even though it means going through trials, I think this is a great thing!
I think there are 2 things certain in life: 1) there will be trials. I wish I could promise you otherwise but being a Christian definitely doesn't guarantee a trial free life! 2) God WILL faithfully bring us through them.
So back to the Wilderness Mentality... What is it in your life that is keeping you in the desert? Maybe it's a dream you had once that now seems impossible, or a promise God gave you that you've waited for years for but never seen fulfilled. Maybe it's the situation you are going through that seems just so big and overwhelming that you think you'll never get through it.
I think the key to getting out of the desert and into the promised land is to go back and look at the Israelites.They had a promise given to them by God and they had a report given to them by the people sent to have a look at the land. Instead of remembering God's promise they listened to the report and panicked. To walk out of the desert and into the promised land we need to remember who God is, remember that He is bigger than anything we can ever face. By focusing on Him our perspective changes, our fears are calmed and we can realise that the impossible is made possible through Him!