Devotion: If you are in Christ, God has not brought you into this desert to starve you. He has brought you here to teach you that man does not live by bread alone.
"Sometimes, we become so focused on the finish line, that we fail to find the joy in the journey." ~ Dieter F. Uchtdor
I remember it like it was yesterday, just like clockwork, I fed Jolie (my daughter) her oatmeal bottle, got her washed and dressed and proceeded to gather myself to prepare for the long work day ahead. Have you ever had that feeling where you seem like your life is becoming so mundane, so predictable, and so lackluster? Yeah, me too. At 10 am, I dropped my daughter off at daycare and with an hour to spare, I decided to go sit in my job's parking lot. I don’t have a working radio in my car and haven’t for a while. I was never pressed to get it fixed because I felt like I heard God the most when I rode in silence. Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure, if I can recall correctly, I was scrolling through Instagram and before I could blink my eyes it was 10:45 am and time for me to make my way into the office.
I felt fine… or did I? I had already been working for 90-days after having my daughter and couldn't understand why I was overwhelmed emotionally. That moment turned into weeks, then turned into months. God, what’s wrong with me and where are You?!?! It would've been 2 months passed before I shared with my husband that I felt depressed. I thought as soon as I acknowledged the root of my issue, God would come in and save the day. But, He didn’t. Being totally transparent, it was the spark of Postpartum depression and anxiety that I allowed to overthrow my faith, my diligence, and the time that I once spent with God.
If Israel was ever going to stand in the promised land, with their hands full of bread, and say, “I know how to abound,” they would first need to walk through the wilderness, with God’s Word in their hearts, and say, “I know how to be brought low” (Philippians 4:12). They would need to learn how to look around at a wasteland of sand and sing for joy to the One who gives and takes away.
So it is with us. Often, God teaches us how to handle His gifts rightly by first withholding them. "But, why does He have me out here in the wilderness?" The wilderness exposes what’s inside our hearts like little else does. For all the beauty of the Promised Land’s hills and forests, they offer dozens of hideouts for our idols. It’s easy to worship God while our hearts are lost in His gifts. Your true character is revealed when pressure is applied. What was this pressure saying about me? I love the Lord, I speak highly of God, but why don’t I hear Him? It’s crazy because I’ve seen rock bottom before. I’ve experienced lack on many occasions so "what are You doing now God?", I would ask. Our seasons of lack do not create the cancer that comes of us; they expose what was already there, but hidden by abundance.
“And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not” Deuteronomy 8:2
The wilderness truly reveals where our faith lies. It is in this place that you truly have to make the choice, that regardless of what is seen in the natural, it will not overthrow your trust in God. I’ve once learned before that it is in the place least comfortable that God really can use us as long as we do not become careless with the part of us that we cannot afford to lose… our soul. If we can learn to live by God’s Word in the wilderness, then we will find ourselves more prepared to use His gifts for what they really are: servants of our joy in God, not substitutes for Him.
I’m sure you’re thinking I’ll be ending this post with how I’ve overcome my journey through the wilderness, how God is doing a mighty work in my life now, and how I am no longer in the valleys, but in the mountains. However, that is not the case. I am still journeying through this new season. I'm still growing my faith and trust in God for what He is currently preparing me for. Embracing the process and speaking life is all that I am tasked to do. I still know that God is doing a mighty work on my behalf!
For months, God told me to clean my house every day. I’d be lying if I said I was consistent with it. I’m not doing a bad job, but I know that God requires more of me. Cleaning my house is both a natural and spiritual task. As God’s children, we will be aided by His Holy Spirit in sweeping and cleaning out the untidiness that causes us to fall short of His glory. As challenging as this process is for me, I know that there is a major celebration on the other side. My heart’s desire is to have those that enjoy my content, love, and support me to take this journey with me. I don’t want you all to see a finished product, but yet, a work in progress which we all are.
I pray that you were inspired and encouraged by today’s post. I pray that you are confident that there is refuge on the other side of your journey.