Thriving in the Wilderness (Abiding & Intimacy with God Series Part 11) 

  
Photo Source: Christi Gee

We can thrive in any season if we surrender to God and seek to understand the process and His timing. The wilderness is a call to intimacy (deeper knowing of God). 

Moses spent 40 years in the desert, unseen by many before he was called by God to return to free his people. Jesus did not enter ministry full-time until He was 30 years old. David was hidden, overlooked, and even rejected by his earthly father before he became king. 

Our culture seeks to bypass process. There are things we can only learn about God in the secret place, the hidden place, the wilderness. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tested by the devil for 40 days (Matthew 4:1). The attempt to bypass all testing, trials, challenges is a invitation to perpetual immaturity, and limited authority. We gain authority over what we have overcome. 

Attempting to shortcut the process is an invitation to bypass character development, and intimacy with God. Character is important. Anointing and gifting will take a person places their character can not stand under. Self promotion and self acceleration is a sure fire way to eventually crash and burn. 

God develops our trust in Him alone in the wilderness and unsupported season. 

I used to be discouraged when I could not get any support. People were concerned with their lives. I spent a period of life sad that I was walking through the seven levels of hell while others were frolicking in the promised land. I watched them acquire everything I was praying for and I had to press on with God. 

They had no wilderness, no fierce trials, no Goliath. I on the other hand was walking through 7 years of real persecution, loss, tragedy, near death experiences, periods of physical illness, betrayal, being lied on/slandered, on one occasion left to die (people drove on by), and meeting Goliath after Goliath. As a young person, it certainly was not how I wanted to spend my life. 

I learned some very valuable things. 

1. God + Nothing=Everything. 

These profound lessons are not learned if you go from one red carpet to another. They are not learned if everyone is holding your arms up all the time. It is not learned in the seasons of roses and skipping along the water path. 

Many great lessons are learned in the Garden of Gethsemane. They are learned when no one will help you, they ignore your need, pretend they do not see you. They are learned when God allows you to be placed in the battle with Goliath then ties your arms behind your back and the battle rages on longer than you think your flesh can stand, for me years. You learn God as Best Friend, Victor, Healer, Provider, Strength, Strong Tower…Everything. 

2. Your frailty, weaknesses, and unbelief is exposed and dealt with by the One who is strong in your weakness. 

It is easy to believe God when everything is going your way. When everyone is applauding! When it is good. In the wilderness, times of pressing, persecution, trials what we truly believe is exposed. Do we believe God is good when life is in turmoil? God works out deep faith in the seasons no one sees if we stay connected to Him. 

3. You have chances to fail without casualty. 

I never asked God for a platform or influence. I asked to know Him, be one of His best friends, and to have the character of Jesus. I specifically asked to be held back from any influence that would not bring Him glory. 

In the process, hidden seasons you have the chance to try things, step out in faith, and not have it negatively impact many people. So many people want a platform, yet their character is not developed. They end up hurting people or leading people into mass deception. They bucked correction, accountability, and character development. They know of God, read of God, yet have not experienced Him in every season. They have not been to battle, they have not had their faith tested by fire, and therefore what they offer is not always based on encounter. It is based on what has been read, or heard. 

4. You learn to pray with authority, abide in God. If you do not, you die. 

When God is your Primary, the violent waves and winds are crashing against your boat…well you learn to pray. You learn to cling. You learn His voice. My goodness you learn. Your identity becomes solidified in Him alone. 

5. You let God open and close doors and shift seasons. Who God promotes, no person can demote. 

Seeking the approval of man is futile. Mankind can love you today and hate you tomorrow. Just as they did with Jesus. Trying to push open a door is wasted time. Anyone who pushes their way in front of God in their flesh will need to operate in the flesh to stay there. Who God calls, He equips. God promotes. God demotes. God’s timing is perfect. When God opens a door, you are fully equipped to walk through that door. 

Sweet friends, no matter your season, God is there. The most important question is, “Is God here?” Staying connected to God is the way to thrive in every season. Therefore, we bear fruit in every season. The objective is not to see our names in lights. It is to know God, love God, and establish more of His Kingdom on earth. 

If you are in the wilderness, a season of testing and challenges…please know it is not permanent. Relief does come. May your faith and heart not fail. You are so deeply loved and if you are in Christ, the Spirit of an Overcomer lives in you! Lifting you up before our King in love. 

Love the Story, Not Always the Process

  

Photo Credit: Pinterest 

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us,~Phillipians 3:14. 

There are so many stories of miracles in the Bible. They all started with a problem. Abraham and Sarah had no children. Hannah desired a son. The Isrealites needed a way out of Egypt. The woman with the issue of blood, who suffered for over a decade, needed healing. Jesus died for our sins and was then resurrected because the world needed a Savior….

Everyone loves a great story of miracles and overcoming. Yet many forget the process. Not every miracle or promise is instant. The Messiah was prophesied of many, many years before He set foot in the synagogue to proclaim Isaiah 61. Abraham waited 15 years for Issac. Though people mock Sarah for laughing, I might have laughed too. After her youth is gone, her body is tired, she’s watched other women nurse and love their babies…Let’s be honest, that’s a long time to wait and watch others get what you’re begging God for. 

We love the story of those who overcome or have a radical encounter with God. We don’t always love the process of walking in their shoes or walking out our own journey of facing problems or challenges with God. 

Maybe you’re waiting on a miracle or promise; praying for a miracle, desiring a miracle and every day the hope in you seems to die a little. You watch others celebrate their healing, their financial breakthrough, their promotion, their engagement or wedding, the birth of their children…and you face the harsh resounding discouragement in your heart that tells you that your dream may not come true. 

Maybe during the process you have given up. Buried that dream. Let it die in your heart. Maybe you’ve grieved silently because you can’t take another person throwing scripture at your grief and pain. So, you cry in silence. You scream silent screams that only you and God can hear. You shed tears only God can see and you dust yourself off and keep running your race. 

If that’s you, I can so relate. When the Lord spoke to me many years ago that my life would be filled with miracles, I wish He’d have also said, “This means lots of problems and challenges, persecution, some betrayals, your heart will be broken many times, estimating over a half dozen near death experiences, you’ll lose friends, your health will be attacked, during sickness you’re going to lose your hair, you’ll be mocked and cussed out in public places, and in many cases there won’t be a single soul willing to help you.” If He had, well I might have had a different reaction. However, clueless, I said, “Yes sign me up for a life of miracles.” God delivered me through every single situation and provided so many miracles. There was still heartache and suffering in the process. 

Please don’t think God delights in suffering or sickness. I am not stating He caused all kinds of problems. He didn’t prevent every problem. Some things He delivered me from and others He delivered me through. He doesn’t prevent all suffering or sickness. I still know Him as Healer. God heals, restores, and works miracles. I also have seen people who lived upright Iives before God and have suffered greatly; loss, sickness, heartache, pain. We can’t ignore there’s trouble this side of heaven. 

Easy or deep…

I wouldn’t trade God for an easy life. Yet there are days I wish for less situations that required a miracle. There are days my flesh is tired even when my spirit is not. Some would say in those moments, “Trust God. God is good. He will work this for good.” He is good. He truly is. Yet even Jesus had His Gethsemane moment where He asked the Father, “Please take this cup from Me, nevertheless, not My will…Your will be done.” 

Jesus suffered greatly for humanity. While we love the story, I can’t name one person willing to go through the same process for sinful humanity. So we love the story…not always the process. 

Without the process, going through the trials, challenges, and hard things with God, there’s no great story. There’s also no great character and intimacy with God built either. I’m not stating sickness builds character or intimacy, trials and challenges do if we let them. 

Smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors.” 

I’d love to tell you to hang on, to keep declaring the word, to never lose hope. Yet I won’t if you’re grieving today. I will tell you to climb up into the arms of God, and let Him love you. As someone who’s laid many dreams to rest, had my heart broken many times, and been to the Garden of Gethsemane more times than I’d like…I think my name is etched in a rock there (Erin was here! Erin was here again!!!)…more than anything in those moments I wanted to know my Father’s love. What I needed was love, not a pep talk or inspirational speech. I just needed love. It would’ve also been nice to have someone willing to pray and stand in the gap. You don’t have to be strong, let God be strong for you! 

There’s a time to contend and a time to rest in God’s sweet embrace. 

So, if that’s you, I’m praying for you! I can’t promise you immediate relief. I can say God is the Comforter. If you’re not delivered from, there’s deliverance through. May His love overwhelm you. May your love story with God inspire others and generations to come! May you be flooded with love and comfort in the process. You are deeply loved. You will always be loved! ♥️💯

Love in Christ, 

Erin