Dependence in the Wilderness

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Every great story doesn't start at the crescendo of a character's journey. The anticipation builds as the plot progresses and we're drawn to a hero's struggle because it mirrors our own. We love to see a victorious underdog defeat evil, especially if it's an inner demon. The credits roll or the book is laid down and we're left to face our own reality, unaware that true glory of a win is sticking it out through the wilderness. 

I've always loved superhero movies. Good conquering evil, usually in style, while putting their life on the line to rescue people they don't even know. A few years ago, after re-watching the best comic trilogy ever, a light bulb went off - the Holy Trinity is the one true superhero. If I liken my life to a movie, the good stuff happens in the in-betweens and moments of confusion or frustration. When life glides along smoothly, I'm not seeking knowledge or understanding, I rely on my own strength. 

God gave us a book filled to the brim with tales of relatable humans literally slaying giants, destroying idols made of gold, protection from being eaten by lions, and surviving an inferno because He knew we would struggle and doubt His sovereignty during wilderness seasons. 

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." (Romans 5:3-5, New International Verison) 

This scripture has been a lifeline during periods of wilderness for me. Hope can be an almost impossible idea to grasp when you've been knocked down by disappointment time and again. God gifted the Holy Spirit because He loves us infinitely and knew hope would be impossible without a Helper. Think of the Holy Spirit as a compass, an internal airhorn that jars awake the senses to make spirit-filled decisions. I can think of a few specific times when my flesh wanted to lash out in rage, I wanted to act from emotion because I was hurt. But the Holy Spirit whispered "relax, I got this and you know I got this,” a gut-check and a hallelujah all at once. 

Without wilderness seasons, our hope wouldn't be in Jesus but in ourselves. Faith is tested and sanctified in the wilderness. I used to hate being told "God doesn't care about your timeline, His timing is perfect" until I rounded the corner and allowed the need to know every detail dissipate. Lean in to the discomfort of the battle of wills and allow the freedom of letting go to wash over every disappointment. Trusting in your dependence of God's provision in a wilderness season sets up an expectancy to see Him move. And He will move, in His perfect time but not a moment sooner because He loves us too much to give us anything without being properly prepared to handle it. 

Our wilderness may not be the dessert of Judah or a galaxy far far away. However, we are equipped with a tongue that speaks life, a Holy compass, angels that provide protection, a Book of knowledge and hope, and a Savior who died to set us free. Being in the wilderness isn't punishment, on the contrary actually, Jesus is handcrafting us into the version that best resembles Him. The odds are stacked in our favor and victory is here, just reach out and claim it. 

New International Version (NIV). Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.