I am going through a difficult time in my journey as a Christian, not because my faith is wavering, which is not the case at all, but because never before have I felt such a strong conviction of God’s existence and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to bring me back to the Father, and yet I am at a loss as to how to deploy and act out what I know and have experienced to be true and worthy of a lifetime commitment and dedication.
I find much comfort as I read those passages in the Old Testament which talk about Moses and the people of Israel spending 40 years in the wilderness. Also in Luke 4 we learn that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the dessert for 40 days. Interesting point that in both instances it was God who led both Moses and Jesus into this period of wilderness, uncertainty and testing. I feel reassured that contrary to some people’s belief, the Holy Spirit can and does sometimes lead us not beside quiet waters, but into circumstances where we are stripped off all our confidence, and even anointing.
Months ago I was leading a prayer group at my house during which we had some very special times of spiritual healing, encouragement and building each other up through our weekly struggles. Only a few months before that, I could not even pray out loud when on my own. And now, a year later although my faith is stronger than ever, as Samson lost his strength when his hair was cut off, so I have been led to a place where that anointing has left me and I find myself craving for the wonderful presence of God’s power in my life which in the past allowed me to experience a reality so much bigger than myself, with so much more meaning and weight.
Paul Weigel in “A journey in the Wilderness” says that when we work at overcoming our outward weakness (symptoms), it only covers up the deeper root areas God is attempting to expose in our Heart. We may be able to lop off a branch or two of the tree, but the tree is still standing. When the Holy Spirit does His work, He lays the axe to the root of the problem. Check this link if you wish to read more of his book – http://www.theforerunner.net/Resources/A_Journey_In_The_Wilderness/bookexcpts.html
In other words, this gift, anointing, supernatural faith I had previously been blessed with from above, no longer seems to be a part of me; is no longer something that defines me and that is imediately perceived by others without me having to work at it for it to be manifested. Deep in my heart, faith in Jesus Christ and his message of love, forgiveness and salvation is still very much my rock, the foundation that sustains me, but to the outside world, that special something that shined out of me before with no effort, is no longer on display. The Lord gave and has now taken away. This is indeed an incredibly humbling time for me and I am in awe of the fact that God blessed me with such sustaining faith in Him in the first place.
Pictures are always good ways of reflecting one’s heart or mood at any particular given time, so how about this one?
I have a better one, though:
I praise God for the cracks that are showing where there once was luscious green pastures in me which people fed on. I praise God for bringing me back to Him; for reeling me in when I tried to fly before I could walk. I praise God for the drought, the inability to go forward in the faith in my own ability, but the certainty of my strength being renewed by his grace and power, as I wait on Him for as long as it takes. I praise the Lord for allowing me to taste a season of spiritual barrenness, so that when His streams of living water run through me once more, I will be all the more grateful for a joy and a blessing I should have never taken for granted or treated with less respect than it deserved. I praise God, because although it is hard to live through this wilderness at present, spiritually speaking, I know that He can see the end from the beginning and will not put me in a position or call me to a purpose for which I am not yet ready.
As I walk through this wilderness I am only too aware of all the “corpses” and “dried bones” all around me of all those who disobeyed and in looking back, suggested and wondered whether they would have been better off back in Egypt; the dried bones of those fatally wounded, because they stepped beyond their anointing way before their character was refined in the fire enough to withstand the temptations and attacks of the Evil one. May the Lord keep me in this “desolate land” for as long as He deems necessary, and give me the grace to never look back and long for a time past.