Friday, February 4, 2011

Embracing the Wilderness

1 Peter 4:12- Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

Bad theology is everywhere.  It can be found in books, speakers and songs.  It can be found each and every day in posts on Twitter and Facebook.  And it can be found most every Sunday morning in churches all across USAmerica.

One of the worst manifestations of bad theology (pardon my judgement) says that once you have accepted Jesus as your LORD and Savior, life will be a piece of cake.  Once God has control of your life every day will be a festival of fun.  Wealth, fame, power and glory will be yours. No more rain.  No more misery.  No more temptation.  With Jesus by our side we will experience heaven here on earth.  Now don't get me wrong, life with Jesus in it is far superior to facing life on our own.  But all of that stuff about life being easy?  That's a load of crap...

You see, the Garden of Eden was perfect, until Adam & Eve ate the apple.  When Jesus comes back to claim his throne, life will be perfect again.  We are in the in-between, and life is hard.  Jesus himself said, "In this world you will face many trials."  It is a scripture we can all understand.  We also learn from the life of Paul, who faced more than one or two of those trials, that they help build our faith and make us stronger.  In fact, if you look at most of the great men and women of scripture you will notice that many of them spent some time in the "wilderness"- AFTER God got a hold of their lives!

The great Dwight L. Moody was quoted as saying that Moses spent 40 years in Pharaoh's court thinking he was somebody, 40 years in the desert learning he was nobody and 40 years showing what God can do with a somebody who thought he was a nobody!  I can totally relate.  I spent 28 years in ministry thinking I was important.  I have spent the last few years in the wilderness, wondering if God was done with me.  Like Peter, I denied my Jesus.  Also like Peter, my sin did not mean I loved Him any less.  But it did leave me wandering in the wilderness.  I am only now beginning to understand just how wild the wilderness can be, as well as just how amazing grace is.  God is opening doors for me to do greater things than I had ever imagined.

Being in the wilderness is something we will all experience at some point on our spiritual journeys.  This doesn't mean we have done something terrible, that we are not "real Christians" (if I see that phrase one more time on Twitter I may ask God to send frogs again!) or that God is mad at us.  It mostly likely means for us, as it did for Moses, Peter, Paul and so many others, that God has something to teach us.  Life gets hard in the wilderness.  But don't be afraid of it- embrace it!  Remember Paul's instruction to "Count it all joy."  Know that while you are in the wilderness, God is getting ready to show you just what He can do with a somebody who thinks they are a nobody.  "Humble thyself in the sight of the LORD, and He will lift you up, higher and higher!" 

Because of Jesus,

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2/04/2011

    We often only find out how much we truly trust God when we are cast (or cast ourselves) into the wilderness. Thank you for a great reminder. -Kurt


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