Anyone who has experienced anxiety, stress or panic knows what it’s like to walk in the wilderness. I think about the children of Israel. They had just seen a miraculous deliverance out of Egypt. God revealed himself in a powerful way, and lead his children out of this bondage of slavery. They were free. It was only eleven days to the Promised Land. It was a short path through the wilderness.
But something went wrong. What should have taken eleven days took forty years. What happened? What caused the children of Israel to wander around in this place of bareness for forty, painful years?
Did God abandon them? No. He provided food and water for them everyday. Did God stop talking to Moses? No. Each day, God spoke to Moses at the tabernacle. Were they lost? No. God was a cloud by day and a fire by night leading them from place to place. So, why did they not make it through the wilderness in eleven days? Hebrews 3:19 explains: “they were not allowed to enter his rest because of their unbelief.”
Unbelief. They could not enter into the Promised Land of peace and rest because they did not believe God or trust in his promises. Let me ask you a hard question: are you in this wilderness of fear because you do not believe God?
- Are you concerned about your finances?
- God says he will never leave you nor forsake you.
- Are you worried that cancer or some disease will kill you?
- Jesus holds the keys to death and life.
- Are you afraid of what people might think?
- God says to fear no man, but rather, fear him.
- Are you afraid of making a bad decision?
- God says to ask for wisdom and he will give it.
Listen carefully to these instructions in Hebrews 3: “be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. But never forget the warning: ‘Today you must listen to his voice. Don’t harden your hearts against him as Israel did when they rebelled‘” (vs. 12-15).
God can be trusted. Give him your heart. Give him control. Jesus is willing, able and ready to take the reins of your life and give you rest. Surrender your life to him. If you listen carefully with your heart, you will “hear” his voice calling you to trust him. Open your arms to him. Open your heart to him.
Prayer: Father, I’m so tried of being in control. I’ve tried running my life for too long, and the weariness is pulling me down. This wilderness is too lonely, too painful, too dark. Shine your light into my heart. Jesus, forgive me of my sins. I confess them to you now. Holy Spirit, help me to turn from them this day forward. I ask these things in your precious name. Amen.