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I’ve read all of my life about the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years after they left Egypt. The group that lacked faith and trust in God to do what He promised never got to see the Promised Land. I think that’s indicative of many Christians today. We wander in the desert of life never receiving what God has promised us because we lack the faith to do what He called us to do so He can fulfill that promise. We get scared of the dream He placed in us and are paralyzed when we see the giants and obstacles in the way. In turn, we live our lives just outside of the full blessings God intended for us.
Just because you are wandering in the desert, it doesn’t mean God is not with you. God lead the Israelites every day while they were there. He even provided for them daily, but that was just a taste of what He wanted to do. You may see God’s hand in your life and know that He is leading you, but if you don’t trust Him to fulfill the vision He gave you, the desert is all you will know. The sad truth is that most if us are satisfied living in the desert.
In order to leave the desert, the Israelites had to leave Moses behind. They got a new God-appointed leader and followed him into the Promised Land. In order to move out of wandering and into conquering, you often have to remove the things in your life that have held you back. Some times that’s a person, sometimes that’s a habit and other times it’s a way of thinking. You cannot move forward until you remove what is holding you back. Figure out what it is and cut yourself loose. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to cast off every weight that besets us so we can run the race we were called to run.
The next thing you have to do is prepare for what God will do. In the book of Joshua 1:11, he told the Israelites to get their provisions ready for crossing the Jordan. Just as they had to pack their bags and sharpen their swords, We must prepare to take the promised land. Many times we think God is just going to do what He promised with no work on our part. That isn’t the case. We have to prepare and get ourselves in place for Him to do what He said. Preparing often means praying more than you have. It also means going to the border of your Egypt and the Promised Land. You can’t cross over unless you’re standing near the border.
The last thing they did was sent out the Ark of the Covenant ahead of them. The priests carried it to the river and as soon as their feet touched the water, the river stood up like a wall. We cannot get ahead of God in going where He called us and in doing what He said. We have to let Him go ahead of us to part the waters and to prepare the way. Our job is to follow Him where He leads, not to lead and hope He follows. To receive His full blessings and the fulfillment of His promise, you must be willing to change what’s holding you back, to prepare to move forward and to follow Him through the perilous rivers of life. Leave the desert of safety and enter into the Promised Land ready to conquer today.
When you grow up along the Gulf Coast, you are trained in school and reminded on the news constantly how to survive a storm. If you are at school, you get under your desk, knees to chest, clasp your hands over the back of your neck and face down. If you are home, you need to find an interior room without windows (like a bathroom), huddle up in there and assume the other position. If it’s really bad, lay down in the bathtub and pull a mattress over you. Once the storm has passed, you then can asses the damages and move forward.
What’s true for surviving physical storms is true when facing life’s storms. For most of us though, we don’t seek shelter from the storm. We don’t assume a kneeling position. We don’t look for a covering. Instead we run headlong into the storm and try to fight it or withstand it on our own. I see people try that all the time. I’ve tried that myself. It doesn’t work. It prolongs the storm and creates more damage. Damage that you are trying to avoid.
The first thing we should do is seek shelter. Psalm 91:2 says, “I will say of The Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I confidently trust.” God is your refuge from the storm. He is your shelter, but for some reason, when storms come, we run from God. We end up blaming Him instead of trusting Him. We question Him instead of relying on Him. Verse 4 of that same Psalm says that His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Rely on His promises.
The next thing we should do is assume the safety position. Coincidentally, it is the same position as kneeling in prayer. Spend time alone with God in your struggle. Cry out to Him in your distress. He hears even the softest whimper of a prayer. He sees you in your fight and wants to converse with you. Take time to spend time with Him during your storm. In Psalm 46:10, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” We need to stop running, get on our knees and recognize Him as our God.
After that, get a covering. You need support from friends, family and other church members who will lift you up in prayer. There are times when our struggles and pain are so intense that we don’t have the strength to even lift our heads to Heaven to pray. When you can’t, others can. They need to know your need though. You need to share your struggles with others so they can lift you up and provide a covering for you. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens.” Someone else can only help you carry the load if you share it with them.
If you find that you are in a storm, take cover in the shelter of the Most High God. He is your refuge from the storm. Spend time on your knees. Don’t run from God during this time. Run to Him. Don’t run from the Church. They will provide you with the covering you need to help protect you during this time. Allow them to share in your burden. You need to be surrounded by people who love you, know you and will pray for you. You weren’t meant to weather the storm alone. You have shelter, help and hope.