“For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland!”  Isaiah 42:9

Do you know that wilderness?  Confusion, hopelessness, despair, and even pain?  From where you stand, there’s not a hint of a way out, much less a road sign.   Everywhere you turn you find more questions than answers and every step you take seems to lead you further and further from a solution.  You pray and pray, yet the answers don’t seem to come.  There’s no text messages, no mapquest, not even a ribbon around a twig to let you know what to do next.  You feel utterly lost and you flounder, miserable, with no clue of what do to get out of the mess you find yourself in.  Are you there, Lord?  Can you hear me now, because I surely can’t hear you!       

Guess what?  You may not realize it but your GPS tracking device is ON!   Jesus is indeed there and He also knows where you are!  What’s more, He sees the pathway that will lead you out of the wilderness and has already begun clearing the way!  While you are wandering and wondering, while you are biting your nails and building SOS fires, He’s already knocking down the forest that stands between you and your next great adventure. 

My husband and I refer to life’s changes, challenges, and hardships as wilderness adventures.  During our twenty eight years of marriage, we’ve had some adventures we’d rather have skipped at the time, but what we learned from them has strengthened us and bolstered our trust in the Lord to bring us through the next one.  Because we know there will always be a next one!

It’s amazing that no two wildernesses look alike yet the solution for each is the same.  That’s where faith comes in.  That’s where you have to know that no matter how bad it hurts, how awful it seems, how much is at stake, or how horrible you feel, Jesus will not desert you, will not leave you, will not hide from you, and will not ever give up on you.  Your role is to keep praying, keep looking for His solution and the clearing of the pathway that will lead you out.  You can’t just hide in a closet and hope when you come out it’ll all be gone.  You have to physically, emotionally and spiritually present your heart, your motives, your dependence entirely to the Lord.  And that can hurt, because maybe He lets you go ever deeper into the wilderness before He knows you’re ready to come out.  Ouch!  Sometimes our pride, our need to be in control, our physical image, our business relations, our desire for material things or recognition, or to have our own way even if it means compromising our beliefs or allowing harm to come to others, is greater than our faith in God.  Aaak!  We’re aren’t perfect…just saved!

When Sam was four years old, we vacationed in Laguna Beach while my husband attended a seminar.  One day after enjoying the sand, sun and surf, I gathered our gear, diaper bag, and baby daughter then called to Sam that we were going.  We three started toward the path leading up to our hotel when Sam suddenly broke away making a beeline across the beach toward a stranger yelling, “Daddy!  Daddy!”  My heart froze!  I was burdened with a baby and bags that kept me from running after him, so I screamed, “Sam, Sam! That’s not Daddy!” My voice was carried away by the loud roar of the oean waves crashing.  In his excitement of what he perceived to be true, Sam ignored me and grasped the legs of the stranger who looked absolutely appalled.  As I struggled to get within hollering distance, Sam recoiled in confusion, looking blindly around while the stranger went back to whatever he was doing.  Before I could get near enough for Sam to see me, Mike came from nowhere, racing toward Sam, scooping him up and cradling him as our frightened, disillusioned son sobbed uncontrollably.   Safe at last in our room, Sam told us, “I thought it was my Daddy and I wanted to see Daddy, but it was only someone I didn’t want to see at all!” 

None of us want to see the wilderness.  We’d all rather have detailed maps that lead us uneventfully through our crises.  But, like Sam, we sometimes rush toward a solution before really considering its wisdom, we go for a goal without weighing the consequences, and when we do, we find ourselves in the midst of a wilderness where we don’t want to be at all.  Or perhaps we are tumbled into circumstances not of our making, but nonetheless involved and unable to find our way out, and no place at all we want to be. 

Stay put, my friend.  Though it’s hard to rest in the wilderness, just try to stop thinking of solutions, stop looking for ways out and stop getting yourself into a deeper mire by spinning circles around your problems.   Instead, get on your knees and pray.  Praise Him for what He is already doing.  Praise Him for what you will take from this.  Praise Him for being with you, holding you, strengthening you.  You will not languish there indefinitely no matter how it seems at this moment.  

He has promised to create rivers in the wasteland and that means you will be nourished, you will be refreshed and you will be clean, able to start anew!  How awesome is our God!

See, He has already begun!

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