God Works in the Wilderness

Are there times when it seems you are on a spiritual journey that is far too long?

Posted in , Mar 19, 2015

Man in the wilderness. Shutterstock.

The Old Testament story of the Jewish people’s liberation from slavery in Egypt is one of the great spiritual journeys of all time. When Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go, we read that, “God led the people in a roundabout way through the wilderness. 

Reflecting on their exodus in her book, A Spiritual Guide for the 2015 Lenten Season, Sister Carol Perry writes: “There is no shortcut on this journey. There is the tedium of the desert where this people will have to learn both to trust God and to become a community. Both of these require time.”

Sister Perry invites us to ponder, “Are there times when it seems as if we too are on a spiritual journey that is far too long?”

Her question prompted me to consider my spiritual journey. What was my own desert? While I was there, what had I learned? There was a time when I moved to California with my family to take on a new ministry position in a faith-based organization.

At first it seemed like paradise. Every day was a sunny blue sky day. But three months into the job things weren’t going as promised. I became discouraged and disillusioned. Spiritually I was challenged with feelings of anger, resentment and distrust.

I found myself needing to learn to wait on God, to trust in God and do ministry in spite of my feelings. Elba, my wife, would tell me, “Stay focused.” “Focused on what?” I asked. “On God! And your work at hand,” was the reply that encouraged me to persevere.

Looking back, I thought God had brought me to a new place to do a new job. Little did I know that He had placed me in the wilderness to do a new thing in me. God had my complete attention. My eyes were fixed on God. 

My conversations with God grew longer, and I turned to Scripture and spiritual readings more earnestly for a word of hope. I had become a new person. I learned to endure all things through Christ who strengthened me. (Philippians 4:13)

Are there times when your spiritual journey seems too difficult? When you question what God is doing? Share what you have learned in your personal desert.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for our faith journey and Your presence with us through our spiritual wilderness, especially when they seemed too long.    

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