September 7, 2021

The Wilderness

God has watched over you as you’ve journeyed through this vast wilderness
Deuteronomy 2:7 (The Voice)
The wilderness is a real place. We usually think of it as a barren desert, typified by the Sinai Peninsula, where Israel wandered for forty years between the Exodus and their entrance into the Promised Land. But in reality, it might be any place that is unpopulated. As real as it is physically, it's as much a state of mind as it is a place on a map.

The wilderness represents many different things in the Bible—among them pilgrimage, dependence, purification, temptation, self-examination, repentance, and even sin. One thing that's almost always true is that those who enter the wilderness are not the same when they leave it. One thing that's never true is that they are abandoned by God during their wilderness journey.

It's important to remember this when we go through our own wilderness. It happens to all of us: things go wrong, we do things we shouldn't, we get left by those we love, we lose our jobs or our money, we leave the path we should be following. In our pain or loneliness or guilt, it's easy to think that God is not with us or that God stopped caring. 

But God does not abandon those he loves. Remember Peter? Jesus told him he was a foundation stone, and the powers of hell could not prevail against the church. He later made many mistakes, and even denied knowing Christ just before the crucifixion. But God did not leave him during his time in the wilderness, and Jesus' words proved true. 

It's good to remember during our own wilderness experience that God is still with us, and in the end, the Christ in us will not be defeated by the powers of death.

The power of death will not be able to defeat my church.
 Matthew 16:18 (Easy-to-Read Version)
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Thank you, Lord, that through good times and bad, you are with me. Should I enter the wilderness, give me faith that I will come out closer to you on the other side.
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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