Are you a planner? Do you like to have you life mapped out? Know where you’re heading? Have things in control?
What happens when you lose your way? When things seem to take a turn away from the direction you thought they were going in? When you have no idea where you’re going anymore?
Today we look at how to trust in God when you’re lost in the wilderness.
Have you ever felt like your life is going nowhere? Like you’re trying to head in a certain direction and getting nowhere fast? Like you’re just wandering around in circles?
Maybe you’ve been waiting for a long time for a promise God has made to come to fruition.
Maybe you’ve been waiting to move house or job and it’s just not happening so you are stuck.
Maybe you’ve been wondering how God wants to use your gifts and abilities, but every door just seems to close.
Maybe you’ve been longing for intimacy with God for some time and all you hear is silence.
We often describe these times as wilderness times, comparing them to the time that the Israelites spent wandering around in the desert waiting to settle in the Promised Land, after God had delivered them from their slavery in Egypt.
It’s easy to look at these times in our life and think that God has deserted us. That they are pointless times spent just wandering and waiting on God.
It’s easy to become disheartened and lose focus on the goal we once had in our sights. We feel like we’ve failed or we’re destined to never achieve what we had hoped for.
The Bible gives us some great ways to trust God in the wilderness, to understand the purpose of the waiting and wandering and to have faith that He will fulfil all He has promised in us.
“Then I said to you, ‘Do not be shocked, nor fear them. The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, just as the man carries his son, in all the way you have walked until you came to this place.’
But for all this, you did not trust the LORD your God who goes before you on your way, to seek out a place for you to encamp, in fire by night and cloud by day, to show you the way in which you should go.”
1. How to trust God when you face opposition or obstacles
Have you ever been told you can’t do something? That there’s no point trying to make something happen because it’s never going to work?
I’m not talking about the wise advice of a prayerful friend. I’m talking about the dream-stealers. The people who for some reason like to put the dampers on things. They find it easier to be critical than encouraging. They quash ambition, hopes and dreams with their negativity.
It’s easy to hear discouraging words and believe them. Especially if we lack courage like the Israelites did. We can be easily put off from what we were focused on, lose sight of our ambitions and allow failure to eclipse our sense of hope.
Yet, God promises to fight the opposition on our behalf if we put our trust in Him and refuse to allow our faith to be shaken. If we have a God-given calling to head towards our own Promised Land, whether it’s a new job, a deeper sense of purpose and calling, or healing and wholeness God will fight off any opposition or obstacles on our behalf.
2. How to trust God when you can’t go on
Sometimes, when we’ve been wandering in the wilderness for some time, we run out of energy. We lose hope. We just don’t have the stamina to continue.
We all feel like this at times in life and it’s easy to turn our backs on God. To be petulant and sulk, blaming God for being too slow in getting us to our destination.
Yet, if we trust Him at these times the Bible tells us He will pick us up and carry us as a Father carries His son. How awesome is that?
Don’t lose hope. Don’t turn your back on God. Keep trusting and enjoy the ride!
3. How to trust God when you feel lost
When we’ve been wandering around for a while we lose focus on what we were originally aiming towards. We give up. We are exhausted by the waiting and the times we have been wandering feels like a waste.
We need to look to God for guidance even in the wandering times. Just as He guided the Israelites in the desert with a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, so too is He guiding us.
It might be hard to see the progress we’re making but we are journeying. We are moving forwards with God as our guide and nothing is wasted.
During the waiting and the wandering God has as much a plan for us as He does when we finally get to where we’re headed.
Photo credit – David Duncan via StockXchng