In the Wilderness
Updated: Aug 4
Many years ago there was a monk who needed olive oil, so he planted an olive tree sapling. After he finished planting it, he prayed, “Lord, my tree needs rain so it’s tender roots may drink and grow. Send gentle showers.” And the Lord sent gentle showers. Then the monk prayed, “Lord, my tree needs sun. Please send it sun.” And the sun shone. “Now send frost, dear Lord, to strengthen its branches,” cried the monk. And soon the little tree was covered in sparkling frost, but by evening it had died.
Then the monk told another monk of his strange experience. After hearing the story, the other monk said, “I also have planted a little tree. See how it is thriving! But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better than a man like me what it needs. I gave God no constrains or conditions, except to pray, ‘Lord, send what it needs—whether that be storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. You made it, and You know best what it needs.” (Story from Streams in the Desert, Cowman)
In order to thrive it’s best not to put our conditions and constraints on God. Instead if we pray, “Your will be done Lord,” He then is able to supply above and beyond what we could imagine.
Many may be praying today, please help this virus to pass quickly. Help life to get “back to normal.” But, God may not want life as we have known it in the past to come back “to normal.” We may have to accept a “new normal.” It seems quite possible that God could be using this time of quiet and isolation for our good and for our preparation for things to come. And most importantly, to reach a dying world that needs the hope of eternal life away from this painful world.
I don’t believe God has caused this virus or the hurt and confusion it is causing, He loves you and I very much. But it is His way at times to allow things to happen (that come from the enemy) as a way of reaching and waking His people and reaching those who have strayed from Him.
Despite this trial, and those that are predicted in His word to come, we can always trust Him to see us through. If He has allowed this to come into the world, He has a plan for working it out for good. (Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.)
Many times God leads His people into still places, into the wilderness to speak more clearly to them. This time of quarantine and isolation may be for many a real “wilderness” experience. Just as Moses needed 40 years to hear and to be open to God’s call on his life, so we may too, need a period of rest and retreat from our busyness to hear the voice of the Lord calling us—even preparing many for a greater work in these last days.
It’s our choice to not waste this time He has given us, but rather to see it as a gift. A time of reflection, a time for prayer and supplication. A time to pray for those truly hurting and loosing loved ones because of things happening around the world. A time to pray, seek and search our own hearts to be sure we are ready for His imminent return. A time to sit quietly and reflect on His word and it’s meaning for our lives.
Just as he slowed the steps of Abraham as he wondered this world as a pilgrim, this earth is not our home either...maybe this is a time to slow down and truly consider our permanent home in heaven.
As God led the children of Israel into the wilderness before they could enter their promised land, it is the same with us. And, we know that only some of the Israelites made into Canaan. It was the those that remained faithful despite the hardships and testings that were able to see that amazing land. That’s our call today as well; to remain faithful during our “wilderness” experience and to hold fast, trusting and clinging to the One who has also promised us a most amazing land where there will be no more death, sorrow, tears or pain!
Listen to that still small voice today calling each of us to “be still and know that [He] is God. He will be exalted among the nations.” Psalm 46:10