If you’re anything like me, then you’d want pleasant or at least close-to-perfect circumstances all day, everyday.
Well, hello-from-the-other-side. LOL. That seldom happens. And you can correctly say, this is usually the cause of our worry as human beings. When would this ugly circumstance turn around? And the worry-list goes on and on.
Another thing that I find quite interesting is our assumption that whenever we find ourselves in a difficult place then that means somewhere along the line —- we missed God.
Well… Hello AGAIN. That’s not true.
I’m finding out now that while we’re sometimes the architect of our unpleasant circumstances due to unguided choices, other times, we’re right where God wants us to be at that point in time.
Let me share something that happened recently. So, I made a major decision. *don’t ask what cos I’m not telling. LOL*. And before I made this decision, as you would expect, I really prayed. To be honest, I was not keen on making the move. Indifferent is the word that best described my attitude towards the situation.
Anyways, I prayed and prayed. God gave me green light. I believe He did. I made my move and then depression seemed to be staring me in the face. I felt like I had been scammed. My expectations were not met to be very honest. And not only was I disappointed but I was super utterly disappointed. *pardon my French, please* .
For about two weeks or more after this, I didn’t want to pray. Like really, what’s the point? I prayed before I made the decision but the outcome looked like a really big mistake that could have been avoided if I had prayed. But truth is, I prayed and prayed and prayed. Amen?
So, I would just drag my feet on the road and just say in my mind “God, like really?” This went on for a while. Can’t remember how long.
More unpleasant things happened and every day I would just stare at my Bible like ‘Na wa’. LMAO!
Then one day, I was just there still very much convinced I had made a huge mistake despite praying without ceasing. Then God finally broke His silence on the matter “You do know that, the fact that a situation is difficult doesn’t mean I am not in it, right?”. Guess my reaction to this? I was like “Good, so this is not just me trying to be a complainer. Even God knows the situation is difficult. GOOD”. LMAO! LMAO!
After my response, it seemed God was repeating Himself as though to say “Arinola, you’re not listening. The fact that you’re in the midst of unpleasant and difficult situations does not mean you made a mistake. It does not mean you are not being led. It means, you’re being tested”.
Being tested? Whoa! So, while I was still there trying to figure whether that information tallies with anything I have read in the Bible, someone seemed to have dropped the reference I was looking for without struggle, as though to say – Let Me help you with that – Matthew 4.
And guess what?The beginning part confirmed what I had just heard “Then Jesus was led by the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil”. My response? “Eh ehn?! Very interesting.”
Second reference – Deuteronomy 8:2 “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness…. to humble and TEST you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands”
First realization for me was ‘in the two instances, God led them in to the wilderness so that they could be tested’ .
After this, it seemed God was calling my attention to something else, the fact that these kind of circumstances often makes God look like an insensitive Father.
Let me explain. In Jesus’ context as found in Matthew 4. He was extremely hungry. He had prayed and fasted for 40 days. If anything, God should know He was hungry and needed food not a test (who else thinks like me LMAO!). But instead, God led Him into the wilderness to be tested. And interestingly enough, one of the things the devil said to Him was “indeed if you’re the Son of God, then turn these stones to bread”. So, even the devil knew He was hungry .
What I am trying to say is, imagine you’re praying for God to bless you with a good apartment in Ajah because your office is just 20 minutes’ drive from there. And Father God decides to give you a house at Akowonjo and every day you’re forced to think that “did God not understand my prayer point or something?” LMAO.
Truth is, God loves us. He is love. And His thoughts towards us are good. Only but…God’s ways are not our ways.
How to behave in the Wilderness:
Well, if you have read the book of Numbers, then you most likely would have concluded that the Israelites behaved very badly. But can I shock you? Some of us would have done x2 had we been in their shoes. Because we sometimes react to circumstances based on our sense and feelings. I’m in this category too, by the way. Which explains why I am now in the wilderness. LMAO!
LOL. Anyways, what I am trying to say is: our attitude in the wilderness determines how long we stay there. For sure, we don’t want to be like the Israelites and complain, blame everybody including God for our portion.
Instead, we can sit back. Decide not to complain. Decide not to blame. Decide to enjoy ourselves in the midst of the unpleasant circumstance (like really follow Jesus’ recommendation and cheer up ). Praise and ask God to deliver us.
But the Israelites wouldn’t have any of these. I imagined they expected that since God had delivered them from Pharaoh then there was no more difficulty. No more fighting. Just enter Promised Land straight. LOL. So when they learnt in Numbers 13 that they had to fight again, rather than trust God’s wisdom and strength, they looked at themselves and regretted ever leaving Egypt. In my opinion, I think few things upset God more than this. Like seriously? You were crying in Egypt. I delivered you and at the slightest sign of difficult, you’d rather run back? Good.
What this negative and ungrateful attitude got them was an extra 40 years life sentence (if I can call it that) in the wilderness.
If you’re still reading this long post (I really tried to shorten it but i couldn’t. Sorry!) then it means something in you wants a change in an area. But please, don’t follow the Israelites example. The end is misery and pain. Don’t complain and remain in the wilderness longer than necessary.
Follow Jesus’ example and be a soldier. Withstand the devil when he tries to convince you that God doesn’t love you. Have a good attitude. Go to church. Read the Bible. Do whatever God tells you to do. And guess what? You’d be on your way out sooner than you imagined. Because Matthew 4:11 says right after the devil left Jesus “Angels came and ministered to Him [bringing Him food and serving Him]” .
And the one that excites me the most is this, just like they say “after Saturday, comes Sunday”. You can also be sure that “after your wilderness, it’s your promised land” .