I started the year right! I gathered some family and came and prayed in the new year during 24-7 prayer. I heard God and experienced peace. I confessed the complacency of living one day at a time. I acknowledged that I need to dream again. I’ve been walking in this personal wilderness for the last 3 years and relatively well, but God is clearly ready for me to step into my promised land. I left that time feeling energized and motivated to change my thinking and perspective for this year.
And then we landed in the hospital with my dad. Thankfully, he’s home, resting and waiting for the doctors to figure out what is happening with his heart. BUT, it took the wind out of my sails. How could my promised land have to wait for yet another wilderness? How many wildernesses are lined up between me 3 years ago and my promised land?
Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Asked God these questions? How many of you are saying a not so tearful goodbye to 2017?
And yet, have I truly not reached my promised land, or have I spent time in my promised land and returned to a wilderness from that place? And does that change anything? Is it different to step into a wilderness from a place of experiencing the promised land rather than a place of slavery?
I think in the past when I’ve found myself in the wilderness I’ve tended to step back into slavery mentality. Looking around me as if I have nothing but the clothes on my back and the manna I picked up this morning. Waiting for the next bad thing to happen.
BUT – That isn’t true!
I have so much more. I have a lifetime of God’s faithfulness to lean into as I step through the wilderness. I have the power of the Holy Spirit to battle the monsters in that wilderness. I have the light of Jesus in the dark valleys and caverns. I have the memories of lying beside quiet waters and drinking the living water that means I will never thirst again. I have the hope of eternity!
Now when I walk into the wilderness I do so from a place of belief.
Believing He will never leave me or forsake me.
Believing I am strong and courageous.
Believing that I am my beloved’s and He is mine.
Believing that the shed blood of Jesus is all I need to experience peace and joy even in the midst of a wilderness.
Believing that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and whether I get to that spectacular promised land now or stay in the wilderness a little longer.
God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.
Jen is a pastor at Grace Chapel. She is married to Gary (26 years) and mom to Emma (and Josh), Meg and Kate. She loves people, reading, traveling and finding new adventures. She loves Jesus and walking with people to find the freedom God intended for us!