I am becoming more aware of things that I know I should have learned years ago. I think I am learning I learned them, but they did not stick with me or I really didn’t comprehend it. God is taking me through some things and reminding me of those things I learned long ago.
I get mad at myself because when I was in school I learned things well enough to pass the course or test. I didn’t retain what I was learning in school. When we watch the History Channel I am interested in what is going on. I ask my husband questions and his reply is, “Well, didn’t you learn about that in school?” I ask where a certain country is and get the same thing. Now looking back I wished I had retained some of the stuff I was learning. I think when I became a Christian I was so eager to learn so much I forgot to retain it. Now years later God is teaching me all over again and this time it’s sticking.
We are studying The Story in Sunday school class. We were studying the Israelites wandering through the desert. As I was studying this I realized they had the ability to make their trip through the desert much easier than it really was. Because they were stiff-necked people and slow learners they had a difficult time in the desert or the wilderness.
Also, I realized that because they were not obedient and decided often times they knew better than God they did not receive their reward God had promised them.
One of the things I have been doing here lately is putting my names in the stories of the Bible. So, now I have to stop and ask myself when I am wondering in my wilderness am I making my journey harder than I need to. I have to ask myself am I being stiff-necked. Is God trying to teach me things and am I just too stubborn to learn?
Some of the things I am convinced God was teaching the Israelites was they needed to wait upon the Lord and not move ahead or make plans that was not directed by Him. I think He wanted them to learn to trust Him and not depend on their own resources or their own ways. I think He wanted to them to be strong people realizing their strength was not their own, but it came from God. Like all humans they wanted to do things their way. When Moses was up in the mountains they got restless and did not want to wait upon Moses or the Lord. When it was time to take over the Promised Land they feared the people who lived in the land and thought they couldn’t be taken, instead of trusting in God’s strength. They threw a little hissy fit on several occasions.
Well, I do the same thing. When I am going through a difficult time I don’t want to wait upon the Lord. I think I can do it better, faster, or easier. I think I have the solution. When I am going through a desert I often think I can get through it on my own. I don’t’ ask for prayer, I don’t ask for God’s help I just plow through. I am often times like the Israelites I have a little hissy fit.
God gave the Israelites plenty of chances to learn from their mistakes and their grumbling. He showed them time after time He could be depended on, trusted and that He loved them, but they just couldn’t get it so they lost out on the promises He gave them.
It would be very easy to lose the promise of eternal life that He has given me if I don’t learn from their mistakes and grumbling. God was so angry at them He wanted to wipe them out, but in the end He allowed them to continue living but without the promise of a land filled with milk and honey. They continued wandering the desert until life was no more for them.
We can continue wandering the desert with no hope of ever reaching the Promised Land God has given to us or we can learn from our mistakes, put our trust in God and have the hope of one day seeing our Promised Land and being with Him for eternity.
Sometimes God takes us the longer way around in the desert and we have no choice, but when He does that we can be assured He is with us each step of the way. When that happens instead of throwing a hissy fit, we can learn to trust in His timing and His will for our lives. We can take the wilderness or the desert and make it a pilgrimage much like the Israelites or we can take our wilderness or desert and make it into a time when we follow Christ, we learn to be obedient and wait upon the Lord.
“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself.
For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is
determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.”
Just like Martha says our wilderness can be what we make it. What will you make of your next desert or wilderness? Will it be full of cheer and happiness or will you make it miserable for you and those around you?
Dear God: I realize I determine how I will live through those desert times and those wilderness times in my life. I can throw a hissy fit or I can trust you to help me make it through them. Sometimes I determine how long my desert with last while other times it’s not by my choice. Either way I must remember you will always walk with me through those times, I will never walk alone. May I never lose the hope and promise of a life with you. Amen.