At sometime in our spiritual journey we all have known times of what can only be termed as a wilderness experience. Adverse circumstances had produced a dryness of spirit. In desperation we cried out to the Lord for His mercy. God’s overwhelming love and mercy lifted our spirit above the despair and distress of the circumstance. We proved God IN the situation, before He graciously delivered us OUT of it. Engulfed in the flood of the joy and peace of His presence, our Saviour enabled us to “sing in our wilderness”.
Hosea 2: 14-15 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her. And I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope, and she shall sing there……”.
Our wilderness experiences are times of growth in God where we prove God is who He says He is. Whether we find ourselves in them as a consequence of wrong choices, or experiencing them for other reasons, God has sovereignly permitted them. There is no waste in the economy of God! The negative emotions of our humanity seek pre-eminence and when given in to, produce the dryness of wilderness feelings. We serve a compassionate, merciful God who completely understands us, but He will not make concessions or compromise His righteous character. He knows what is best for each of us and has the deepest regard towards us. He has to teach us that considering the greatness of our circumstances and dwelling on them, will only result in doubt and depression, the devil’s ground. It behoves us in times of testing to consider the greatness of our God. As we seek to make our Saviour Lord of our circumstances, He meets us there and carries us through with His enabling strength and ability.
The wilderness is not a dwelling place to make a home there, but a place to pass through on the journey to the Promised Land. It is, however, a learning curve, a place to prove God’s mercy and provision for the journey, and a place to worship the Lord. As we worship we will experience the joy of His presence, independent of whatever trial. Here we learn to sing in our wilderness, ( Hosea).
Paul and Silas, with bleeding backs, sang praises to the Lord in their prison cell at midnight. Their eyes were focused on the Lord, not their predicament. The Lord sent an earthquake. They were not isolated from it, but trusted God who created it. The incident resulted in the jailer receiving salvation. The Lord used the dire circumstance for His divine purposes. (Acts 16: 16-40)
Have you found yourself on a refresher course recently? Have you neglected your homework? You well remember in times past how the Lord proved Himself in your wilderness wanderings, brought you through after you had learned to sing there. It resulted in a deeper walk, a closer walk with the beloved Saviour. Have you gone back to window shopping in God’s storehouse? You have seen the goods, you know the truths of your birthright in Christ, but circumstances have arisen and you have taken your eyes off the Lord. How easy it is to get side-tracked in this place and allow our emotions to rule us, instead of serve us. It is time, once more, to be realigned, recalibrated with God’s perspective of a Christ ruled heart, (the seat of our emotions). Take your eyes off your failure and, in humility, run into the Everlasting Arms of our Father of mercy. Consider the words of the following hymn penned by Charles Wesley:
Depth of mercy, can there be mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear? Me, the chief of sinners spare?
I have long withstood His grace, long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls, grieved Him by a thousand falls.
Whence to me this waste of love? Ask my Advocate above!
See the cause in Jesus’ face, now before the throne of grace.
There for me the Saviour stands, shows His wounds and spreads His hands,
God is love, I know, I feel. Jesus lives and loves me still.
If I rightly read Thy heart, If Thou all compassion art,
Bow Thine ear, in mercy bow, pardon and accept me now.
Depth of mercy, can there be, mercy still reserved for me? Indeed there can, run to the Father, bow at Jesus’ feet and find the warmth of His embrace once more in the ocean of His forgiveness and love.