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He Led Me into the Wilderness

Description

Sometimes God will lead us into the wilderness to teach us things we would have missed on the mountaintop. Genuine contentment is one of them.

Key Verse:  “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness” Luke 4:1

I’m in the process of doing what I call a “dissection study” of the Gospel of Luke. I love to take my time peeling off the layers of what the Bible says to find “hidden treasures” in the scriptures. Because the Bible is the Living Word, we know that we can read the same passage over and over again and, all of a sudden, something new is found in a familiar passage. That happened yesterday morning as I was reading Luke 4 – “Satan tempts Christ in the wilderness.”

Jesus was LED by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. (v.1)

Back up six years in my life. 2004 was a very good year. My husband Steve, who had been unemployed for quite some time, had found a good job. Our sweet then 2 year-old daughter was filling our lives with joy and I had a good job. But I longed to go back to being self employed and be able to have a more flexible schedule with my baby. Before moving to America, my only work experience had been as a business owner, so I missed the freedoms that I had being self-employed. So, in September 2004, we were offered an impossibly good opportunity to own our own business. We knew better than to just jump into it without prayer, therefore, for three months we prayed, asked our friends to pray, fasted and waited. I am so glad that I have all of this journey recorded in a prayer journal as God started giving us answers. So in November 2004, much to many of our friends and family’s “are you nuts” stares and comments, we bought the business, fully aware that we were being directed by God.

Fast-forward eight months and you will see me crying my eyes out at my best friend’s house (as she laughs out loud like a crazy woman): I’m pregnant! Our youngest daughter was on the way. God DOES have a sense of humor. After spending time in prayer, we decided to put the business up for sale. And three months later, we find a buyer for the business (that’s a miracle in itself!). It seems like everything went pretty well, doesn’t it? Not so. Five years later, we are still trying to recover from the financial disaster.

Did I ever question God? Oh, ask me if there was one single month since then when I have not. Here are some pearls: “But Lord, you told us to do this.” “Lord, see right here in my journal: where you told me that was the way we should go??” “You mean I have to go back to working full-time, God?”

Until now… The scales of my eyes fall out as I see it: He LED me to the wilderness. I did not fall there because I disobeyed. I needed to be there.

Jesus was led to the wilderness to get prepared for His ministry. He was led to the wilderness to be strengthened for the task ahead of Him. He was led to the wilderness to be tempted to quit and to come out stronger than ever, ready to start His ministry in Galilee that would change the world forever. WOW!

So here you go: Thank you God for the wilderness!! I said it. I mean it. This is what I learned that I would never have learned on the mountain top:

- In the wilderness, God has been equipping me. I have dug more than ever into His Word. I know verses that I did not know before to quote back to the devil when he attacks me. I’ve got a much better handle on my sword (Eph 6:17).

- In the wilderness, God has not always delivered me the way I thought He should, but He has always provided a way. Like the lady who bought our business. Had that not happened, with a little baby coming and now on only one income, we could probably have lost everything we have ever worked for.  

- In the wilderness, God taught me discipline. Financial discipline mostly, in this case. See, when satan told Jesus to turn the stones into bread, he was trying to get Jesus to seek comfort at the sacrifice of His discipline. My stones were credit cards… “oh, just charge it if you don’t have the money”. I’m here to tell you stones can be anything that satan tries to manipulate you into doing or buying to make your wilderness a bit more comfortable.

- In the wilderness, I’ve learned to worship God for whom He is. Not for the gifts He gives me. Simply for Being.

- In the wilderness, “my God has been supplying all my needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19). We haven’t missed a meal. My husband and I are stronger as a couple than ever and our kids are happy and healthy.

- In the wilderness, God has taught me genuine contentment. I get tickled over simple blessings now, because I learned to value the things that really matter.

So, my friends, I bless God for my wilderness. And I challenge you to do the same. That may just be the beginning of our deliverance.

If you are not in the wilderness, remember Satan’s tactics are still undermining you every step of the way. We need to be constantly on guard against the devil’s attacks. He will meet us in the wilderness, the valleys and the mountaintops. I pray you are aware of where you are more susceptible to temptation and prepare to withstand it by meditating in God’s Word and by praying without ceasing.

And don’t forget, whether in the wilderness or the mountaintop; keep on praising and serving God. After all, He is right there with you.

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