Beloved, did you hear the voice of God yesterday, beckoning you to walk with Him in a vitally personal and real love relationship like none other and to greater depths of understanding than ever before known? With every thought of His desire for relationship, heart soars and I want more. God lovingly takes us on paths that will help us discover the “more” of the depth He desires with us. Looking at two such paths, today we begin by…
Walking with Him in the wilderness with shade from His Cloud protecting and Pillars of Fire directing.
“And Jesus said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.’ (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)” (Mark 6:31)
The most vital need we have for relationship with God to flourish and grow is time alone with Him.
This life is so full of busyness that we neglect the one thing we need most: God, who nourishes us and brings us into His rest, supplying our need so we can continue with His full resource. Scripture speaks of many occasions in which God calls us to enter into the “secret place” of His presence, encouraging us to come away with Him.
In times of trouble, God protects us in the secret place of His presence where He places our feet on the Rock of our assurance and hope (Psalm 27:5). In that place our heart finds protection against strife and harsh words meant to hurt us (Psalm 31:20). His answer comes to us in the secret place of His presence, and we who dwell there find shelter under the shadow of our Almighty, against whom no foe can stand (Psalm 81:7; 91:1-2, AMP). In the Psalms alone my heart soars with joy over God’s provision of the secret place of our personal habitation.
“O my Dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely” (SOS 2:14).
Life too often is a steep path that challenges our ability to cope and our supply for progress forward. It is vital that we practice daily drawing near to God and finding that hiding place with Him where intimacy is ours alone with Him. This is the only way we will have supply to make it up that hill. And He is our supply: covering us to protect us from the heat of life’s challenges, placing us protectively under His wings where sustenance and provision exists, giving light to the dark places, bringing us to His cleansing Fire. Thus, it is vital we learn how to enter the secret place of His presence with ease. That comes with daily practice.
In nursing school, instructors told us that when the crunch is on and an emergency requires us to move quickly, we will do by habit what we do in daily practice. Therefore, do right at all times and we will do it right when the brain stresses. It is the same with our relationship with God.
I recall a story said to be of a young troop under Patton, if memory serves. He slipped out of his tent at night to find a secluded place of prayer. When caught coming back in, they doubted his story, accusing him of being a traitor. Then Patton instructed him to say an audible prayer before sentencing. His prayer done, Patton released the young man, saying, “One would not drill so well had he not drilled often.” Practice makes us believable and functional.
The KJV version of Mark 6 records Jesus’ words this way, “…Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while….”
Beloved, sometimes God calls us to go into desert places, a wilderness time with Him: dry, hot places of rough terrain. God leading us through hardship ALWAYS has a purpose.
It can be a time of respite. Some of us will not slow down to feed our own souls until something happens to make us do so. God knows we need sustenance, and the greatest nourishment we need is He. He will allow a wilderness to enter our lives if that is what it takes to help us seek Him.
Another reason for God leading us to a desert place is for transformation: working our Egypt out of us.
God is creating for Himself a people after His own heart. We get so caught up in worldly pursuits, so full of the false wisdom of flesh, world and the demonic, that just as with the people of Israel, it sometimes takes extraordinary means to remove us from the worldly and it from us.
Some roots of our old nature or sin habits run deep and wide. It may take many wilderness experiences to dig that root out, but God is gracious, taking care against destroying us in the process of freeing us.
Many such roots link to wounds from long ago that have festered with infection and must heal before the root of that infection that reveals itself through sin can die out. Like leprosy, those infected hurts deform our very person, removing any likeness to God far from us. God loves us, therefore He works healing in us letter upon letter, line upon line, and precept upon precept; here a little, there a little, He uproots weeds and applies the ointment needed for healing until our transformation is complete and we look like our Father as He intended.
The number one thing that will bring us to a wilderness experience is some habit of reliance on anything but God. God is our greatest need and necessity. He is the first and foremost. He knows Himself as our greatest need, and He will do whatever it takes to bring us to Himself in our understanding of our first, most vital Need and Necessity.
Life is hard. Jesus, knowing this fact, warns that trouble will come. However, Peace is His promise for our day. We find that peace as we practice dwelling in the Secret Place of His presence where we learn of Him and come to rely on Him as First. He will do what it takes to bring us to possession of our Greatest Need, whether that requires us to be in the wilderness alone with Him, or while…
Walking in the garden in the cool of the day.
We pick up here tomorrow as we continue the journey to our priestly role of increased intimacy with God. Meanwhile meditate on these things, Beloved. Are you in a wilderness alone in any area of your life? No matter how alone you feel, look for God’s presence. He is there with you, waiting to walk alongside you to the garden of life. Is your whole life a wilderness? God is there with you, waiting for you to draw near to Him with sincere and whole heart, seeking Him for companionship and help in coming through to your garden.
Ask Him the purpose of this season, the root cause for being in this place and time, and begin today to cooperate with Him in all He reveals. The purpose of the wilderness is to bring us to the garden, the paradise of our existence in Christ. Tomorrow we go there together.