“The Wilderness is a gift. It is a gift because it is an opportunity for us to lean into the living God and find Him faithful.” – Lauren Chandler.
God has given many promises to hold onto, but for me, sometimes a story really drives home application in a tangible way. I have always had a heart for Moses and found it a hard pill to swallow that under God’s power, he led the Israelites out of slavery of Egypt under Pharoah, despite being terrified and embarrassed of his stuttering voice. Then, after a series of faithful acts, Moses had a fit of anger in unbelief and was told he would not be the one to lead the Israelites into the promised land. In fact, he would not be able to enter it at all (Deut. 32:51-52; Numbers 20:10-11).
Moses was still listed as a man of great faith in Hebrews 11, but the cost of his unbelief was great. God delivered His people from Egypt in a powerful and miraculous way, yet they were ungrateful and unbelieving of the greater promise shortly after such an amazing act of love, power, and choosing. They complained fourteen times about food, water, Moses’ leadership, and the surrounding armies to defeat.
In Hebrews 3:7-19, God makes it clearer what was at stake, and the issue came down to unbelief; but, God gives us heed and hope to trust Him in Hebrews 4. We can choose to look at our past deliverance and future hope in Him when He finally delivers us. How do we keep this mindset?
When we build our faith, we look to what He has done and has promised to do. We get a chance to get it right. We can enter the promised land and we can do it joyfully. We can choose to trust and be grateful.
We may feel that we are in the wilderness from a ministry standpoint, or even personally–and we likely are– for one reason or another. The wilderness reminds us we are not home yet. Our hearts can groan at the circumstances to recognize God is not finished yet, but when it comes to choosing whether to complain, I want to be grateful for God’s ultimate goodness, despite my current circumstance. God has promised that I will enter the promised land and I do not want the wilderness of today to turn my heart to complaining and ingratitude when I have a future hope of glory to be excited about. I want to be counted among the faithful in Hebrews 11. So, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)