In the Wilderness, Remember the Rescue
Mountains boast a glorious view of everyone and everything below them. They are seconds away from the heavens and bathing in the favor of the sun. But they owe their glory to the endless stretches of desert and landscape that surround them. After all, they wouldn’t be mountains if they didn’t have this land to build themselves on.
Sometimes, it feels like most of our lives are a struggle that we just have to bear in order to get to the good part. We put our heads down and trek through the wilderness, hoping that at some point we will reach the peak from which we can look down at everything we faced and forget about all of our time in the wilderness. But what if it’s the wilderness that forms us and gives us the experiences we need to flourish on the top of the mountain? What if the wilderness can be just as rewarding as the mountaintop? Last Thursday, we were honored to have Zach Spector from The Rock Church speak at HOME. He encouraged us with a few things to remember while we’re in the wilderness, because, as he said, “You know and I know that our lives are not lived on the mountaintop.”
God has you in the wilderness for a reason.
Hard times grow our faith and produce character. God is always using our circumstances to make us into people He can use for His glory. The people He uses are stripped of pride and familiar with his faithfulness, a result of the refinement that takes place in struggles.
Even Jesus spent a significant amount of His life being tested. He began his ministry in Mark 1 after being baptized by John the Baptist. Here, Jesus was at His peak, literally beaming with the favor of the Lord. Mark 1:10 says that “Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.” The Lord expressed his delight over Jesus, saying “Your are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11).
Shortly after, He was led into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan, and God allowed this to happen. He knew it would make Jesus a stronger witness to His glory and character. The theme of refinement in the wilderness, and God allowing certain trials, is repeated throughout the Bible, as in the story of the Israelites and David before he became king.
Getting to the mountaintop is a process.
The Lord wants to deliver us from suffering. He is good enough to provide deliverance and freedom the second we ask, but reaching the fullness of that freedom is a process. How we steward the initial freedom He brings is important because we have to choose that freedom every day. If we want to be delivered from addiction, we have to choose purity every day. If we want to be free from anxiety, we have to choose to set our minds on things above every moment.
Christianity is not easy, and sometimes it may seem harder than an alternate lifestyle. We always have to be prepared for battle, and in the wilderness especially, we have to remember how to fight. Zach told us, “When you sign up for Christianity, you enter a war. A lot of us are idle in our Christianity because we are not wanting to fight.” We will not make any progress in the process without fighting for it.
Three things to help you through the wilderness: faith, family, hope.
- Faith - 2 Corinthians 5:7 claims that “we walk by faith, not by sight.” We are not supposed to have a full picture of our futures. God will reward us for taking each step in faith, remembering who He is. The same God who delivered us in the past will be faithful to deliver us again.
- Family- We need other people to encourage us to keep going. We need our community to be fighting right alongside us and reminding us that we are not alone.
- Hope- How successfully we live in the wilderness depends on one thing: where we put our hope, or, whether or not we hope at all. If we’re like the Israelites, who didn’t believe in the Lord's promises, our trek will have no end in sight, and we will miss His voice. We know that we can hope in the Lord’s promises--in Jesus our habitual savior, in our calling. We can hope because “He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
We encourage you to keep on trekking. And this time, look up to see the Lord around you, and the mountain in the distance!
The HOME Downtown Team