It’s one thing to walk away when you no longer want to stay, but it’s another thing altogether when circumstances thrust you into a season of obscurity, away from the things you most love and enjoy. Why would a loving Father allow such a thing?
How does the abundant life Jesus promised reconcile with times where we feel cut off, cut back, and reduced in a way that neither we or the world understands?
Here’s the answer. In the gospel of John, Jesus said this:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2
Whether it’s the loss of a job, a spouse, or your house. Maybe it’s a friendship, your health, or your wealth. Loss is downright painful. And God seems so silent during such times. Yet, if we believe the words we read above, we must know that God is with us in this process and He can redeem every loss in His own time and way.
I often remind my soul, “I’m not who I was, I’m not what I do. I’m someone God loves and enjoys.”
The wilderness is a place where we:
- Remember afresh that our hope is in God alone
- Break unhealthy attachments (we tend to cling too tightly people, positions, and provision). Our help comes from the Lord.
- Remember that we’re not what we do, we’re someone God loves
- Allow God to refine our character and purify our motivations
- Watch Him restore our souls
- Remember our First Love
Recently on Middays, I talked with Dr. Alicia Britt Chole about her amazing book, .
“In hidden years, God is our only consistent audience. Others come and go, but only He always sees. God alone realizes our full potential and comprehends the longings in our souls. When no one else is interested in (let alone impressed by) our capabilities and dreams, God is still wholeheartedly with Fatherly pride shouting His love over us. Anonymous seasons afford us the opportunity to establish God as our souls’ true point of reference if we resist underestimating how He treasures our hiddenness and take the time to decide whose attention and acceptance really matters in our lives.”
I’m on the other side of my wilderness season and I must say, I’m bolder, more confident of God’s love and affection, and more assured of my place in the greater Kingdom story. Once I realized the sacredness and the purpose of this season in my life, I decided to lean in, listen close, and trust the One who loves me more than anyone ever could.
The result? My roots went down deep into the soil of His amazing love. My focus lifted above my circumstances to things unseen. And my identity in Christ solidified within me.
You don’t need status, position, or a place among the important or popular. If you have Christ, you have everything you need: eternal salvation for your soul, a place at the Table of Grace, all of God’s promises, and, the intervention of God’s angel armies. Surely, nothing on earth compares, wouldn’t you agree?
If you’re in a wilderness season, don’t resist it, don’t reject it, and definitely don’t underestimate what God is up to in your life.
After you have suffered a while, He Himself will come for you, establish and strengthen you, and set your feet on a firm foundation. You can trust Him.
The gift of wilderness seasons
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10-11