Six months ago Jesus led me into the wilderness. He took me out of a church I had been in for ten years. Where I had taught Awana and Sunday School. Where I led a prayer team for Upward Sports. Where I taught and decorated for Vacation Bible School each summer. Where I kept nursery, rocked babies, and changed dirty diapers. Where I worshipped and learned about HIM. He told me to leave. And I left. For the last six months I have wandered through the wilderness. I had fed on Manna. I have been tempted by Satan. I have cried out to God…. and still, I am in the wilderness.
Today He started pointing out all that I have learned in the Wilderness. Important things to know before that final leg of the journey that will take me over the hill to the land He has promised to show me.
I have learned over these months that “Yes, Jesus LOVES me.” I knew that. I had sung the song since I was a wee one but I really didn’t know how much he loved me. I can do NOTHING to make Him not love me anymore. He will love me no matter what. I cannot do ANYTHING to seperate myself from His love. I am not saying I should try to make him not love me. I am just saying that He loves me no matter what. I am his creation and perfection to Him. He wants me to love him with that same intensity and see His perfection.
I have learned that He is excited to be with me. I learned this lesson while preparing to take a nap one day. I turned the lights off in the kitchen, set the timer on the stove and headed to lay down on the sofa. Apparently, I do this a lot because Splinter (the canine thing) bounded around like a balloon. He was so excited that I was going to lay down on the couch and he was going to get to snuggle up with me. At that moment I realized that GOD is just as excited when I take time to be with Him. The dog had probably been laying around the house all morning, but still he would put himself out there and take another nap if he could do it with me. God WANTS to spend time with me. He wants to sit and talk. He made me because he wanted me to talk to Him. He could have been dealing with the starving kids in Africa all day and still, he will take some time and hang with me. Luckily for the starving kids, he is all present and can do both things at one time.
I have learned that praying doesn’t always mean me talking. Jesus talks to you in a small still voice. Sometimes you need to SHUT UP and let Him do it. This one has totally blown me away. I thought that if you “go to the Lord in prayer” you were supposed to be talking. Saying stuff… You know… ACTS… Acknowledge his greatness, Confess my sins, Thank him, Supplicate (ask for stuff – for people like me that have a puzzled look on your face). Truly, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for listening, does it? I have learned that I can “go to the Lord in prayer” and say absolutely nothing. He is there. He knows my heart. He wants to sit quietly with me sometimes. I dont HAVE to talk. HE doesn’t HAVE to talk. (He is God and all… he has that right.) I cannot tell you how peaceful it is to just sit in His presence with neither of us saying a word. It took a while to understand that peace and to know that it was ok.
I have learned that because of the GRACE AND MERCY AND LOVE that Jesus shows me I should show that same GRACE AND MERCY AND LOVE to others. No one really knows the whole story of what happened prior to Jesus leading me into the wilderness. I don’t even know the whole story. I only know what happened to me. I assumed in the beginning that everyone knew everything, but as time went on I realized that only a few people had even an inkling. And some of them had WRONG inklings. So, God impressed on me that forgiveness was my only option. That was what He would do for me. I had to do that for them. I had to give people the benefit of the doubt. I had to show them grace even if it was only in my heart. This one has been a tough one for me. I have been able to forgive most, but not all of the people involved. I am still working on forgiving by faith and hoping that God will heal my heart. He is doing it. Not as quickly as I would like, but I have faith that He will.
In the last week or so He has given me a craving for milk and honey. Such a strong desire to find my way to the Promised Land. Such a need to lean even more on Him to lead me there. Sometimes wandering in the wilderness is so sweet. It’s just me and Him. No one else is needed and I wish he would just let me stay there. Then I think of all those people who havent even started their journey to the Promised Land and know there is work to be done. Sweet is the time alone with Jesus. Sweeter still is to know that someone else will be able to have that time alone with Him, too.