Thursday’s Blog by Ken Mills
God is Preparing Us
Wilderness Part 2
Last week I mentioned a video clip by Dr. David Busic, General Superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene, entitled Lessons Learned in the Wilderness. I had already been thinking about our experiences of COVID-19 being like a wilderness experience, so I paid attention to what he shared. We are experiencing a wilderness, not an exile as some may state, but a “wandering” around seeking a path of deliverance.
In the Old Testament, we discover a people set free from bondage by escaping into the wilderness, only to forget that the God who set them free also was with them in that wilderness to guide and provide.
And, Jesus experienced a wilderness experience, as Matthew, Mark, and Luke share with us. Here the newly baptized Jesus encountered Satan’s myriad temptations.
And yet we see that these wilderness experiences were a place where God was present. We need to remember that truth. God is with us to guide and provide. But also, the wilderness is a place of preparation.
In the wilderness, God was preparing a “people” for the land of great promise. We could also make the argument that the wilderness experience was a time of preparation for Jesus and His ministry of restoration, healing, and hope.
So, my question today based on our wilderness experience of COVID-19 is “How is God preparing us?” or “For what is God preparing us?”
Dr. David Busic shared that his biggest concern for the Church was missing what God wanted us to learn. I get that! As we come out of this pandemic wilderness (and we will), what lessons is He seeking for us to learn? Or for what is God preparing us?
I heard a person praying it this morning: “God, you did not cause the Coronavirus, but you did say that in all things you work for the good of those who love you, and called according to your purpose” (Romans 8:28). So how will God use this time of wilderness in our lives? It could be a gradual revelation, where little by little we see growth. Or perhaps God has been speaking into your life during these days of anxiety about something in particular. Dr. Billy Graham once wrote, “God often teaches us lessons that we’ll need in the future, although we often aren’t even aware of it at the time.”
Another hero of our faith was David. He also experienced the wilderness in his youth, as a part of his family responsibility as he guarded the flocks. Before David ever faced the giant Goliath, God had him learn to cope with and battle danger through his job as a shepherd. No experiences in life are wasted. Whatever experiences we have in this pandemic is a part of God’s preparing us to serve Him and His mission.
Gary Oliver has a saying that goes like this: “God doesn’t want us merely to ‘get through’ our problems. He wants us to ‘grow through’ them.” What lessons is God seeking for us to learn in these days of wilderness living?
As we walk through these days together (and we are), allow me to remind you of the words in Deuteronomy 31:8 (CEB): “But the Lord is the one who is marching before you! He is the one who will be with you! He won’t let you down. He won’t abandon you. So, don’t be afraid or scared!”