Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When God Calls You to Stand in the Wilderness

When God calls you to stand in a wilderness, it's not fun. It is not pretty. It is not a game. You can fall away from the faith during this time if you mistakenly remove the full armor of God by trying to do things your own way. Regardless of how alone you may feel, God is there every step along the way protecting you, providing for you and also teaching you things that can't be established elsewhere. You are in good company, but you must stay alert and obey God every step of the way. If you fall down as I have along the way, just get back up and run back to Jesus.

For a long time, I didn't realize we were in a wilderness. I thought I was looking for the anointed man to pray for me to get healed. I thought that I just needed to get my healing theology settled and then I would be healed. I thought that I had missed it somewhere along the way. We had these amazing prophetic words spoken to us over 2 years ago talking about a time where we were obviously healed and I just could not understand where we went wrong or what we possibly did to miss it. We walked to the best of our ability and generally felt like we were obeying God... So what was going on?

That's when I looked around and realized, Duh you've been in the wilderness all along. The dry earth, spiny shrubs and fierce animals all around....Yep all this time I've been in the wilderness, but couldn't recognize it. haha The questioning, the reasoning, the crying, the doubting, the anger, the frustration, the unknown, the helplessness and much more. This is where your faith is tested and God builds you, matures you and fashions you into what He has for your life.

Romans 5:1-5
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

James 1:2-4
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Many say God can't or won't use sickness as a wilderness in a person's life. Many say that healing is right now, always flowing, so just receive. I believed that for a long time and this is actually where it lead me. After struggling for more than 20 months in trying to understand what was going on, I am glad to know that we were in the wilderness all along. Why? Because it gives me hope and a satisfaction that there is an end and that God has been in this the whole time! When God has you in a wilderness, He really is with you every step of the way. Through your goof ups, triumphs, failures, sadness, tears and pain. When Elijah was in his wilderness (read in 1 Kings 17), God provided water for him at the brook Cherith and commanded ravens to bring him food each day. Then once the brook dried up due to the drought, God sent him packing to the next place where he would live off of a handful of flour in a jar and some oil in a jug for years. Even though things looked dreary, God was there.

So for me, realizing that God has been guiding our footsteps in this journey and it wasn't just me off doing my own thing, losing my way and following my flesh, I have to tell you it was extremely uplifting, hopeful and reassuring. God used our journey in pursuing Jesus as our healer as a time for Him to build me, teach me, establish me, change me, tear things down in me, build things back up in me and for me to get to know Him.

God refrained telling us we were in a wilderness because I don't think I would have accepted it. For me it is much easier to believe a wilderness season could stem from a loss of job, death of a friend, being burned out in ministry or God bringing you into a new place, but no way would He use sickness! Even though the signs were written on the wall, I didn't want to look at them because it challenged some of my beliefs of what God would do in a person's life with sickness. Generally speaking I do not believe that God made me sick, but God used this journey in us to conform us to the image of His son.

Romans 8: 28-30
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

So I am here now, but if I continuously look back to see what I could have done is fruitless and leads to guilt and condemnation. It keeps a person from moving forward and just keeps them walking around in circles. If Elijah had left the widow's house to go back to the brook which may have been familiar to him, it would not have been flowing with water again and the ravens would not have brought him food. God did that only for a time and then told Elijah to move on. He didn't tell Elijah to hit a rock or speak to a rock to make water like he did with Moses, he told him to move on and go forward to the widow's house.

We have to follow God's leads wherever that takes us even if it challenges us and makes us feel uncomfortable or if it is different than what others around us are doing.

When we find ourselves in a wilderness, we can't keep looking back at what God did for us in a past season or earlier in the season and try to make it work again. Sometimes we have to let go of our comforts and continue on to the next area God has for us. He wants us to walk forward with Him and move from there. Many times it really will be out of our comfort zones and it won't feel so good at first and this part of the testing of our faith. Many may actually rebuke it as if it's the enemy (haha!!), but it may be God leading us away from everything we once knew and telling us to walk this way over here instead of the path many others went down before us. This is what God did with Abraham, telling him to leave his family and his country to move into new land where he promises to bless him and make him a nation (read in Genesis 12:1-3).

Just in the last 4 months, I have finally come to a place where I am OK with the idea that God has essentially been saying, "not yet" when we went to all of those healing meetings. He used those healing meetings and ministers to get me to start asking questions, to get fed up with it all and to seek Him in a much deeper way.  He kept us here for a short while to build something in us that otherwise would not have been in us because I never would have started questioning things.

Trust me though I don't look at this in a prideful way, but really in just shock and awe of God has done. He took me who was a borderline atheist who wanted nothing to do with God and ministry and has turned me into a Born again Jesus preaching madwoman. haha!

It has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination because our wilderness is not just spiritual, financial and emotional, but also physical. We both have physical conditions that can only be healed by God. It is even tougher when you suffer from symptoms daily and are robbed of any way to work to provide for yourself. I had to surrender everything to God and just let Him do what He wanted to do in our lives. We are completely dependent on God for all of our needs in this season any way...I really mean that too and he has provided. If I look at it selfishly for a moment, how can I run from the only one who can help? How can I say no to the only one who has the power and authority to heal me and give me the life He has promised me?

1 Peter 1:6-7
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ...

I have been quite distressed at times. I have felt extremely tested and tried to the point of brokenness not once, not twice, but more like ten times. I don't know why we have been tested in this way, but I give praise and glory and honor to God for what He has done. Maybe some day in the future I will be able to look back and say, "Oh yes now I see why God did this". As for now, I have to continue to trust Him because we are still in the wilderness and He is our only way out of the wilderness. A friend came over and prayed for us and she said, "you won't fall off the cliff". That has always been something I would say, "God don't let us fall off the cliff, we have been hanging on to you". We won't fall off the cliff because God is here with us. It's not because of something that I am doing or because I have such amazing faith. I generally don't look at myself as someone who has great faith. haha! It's completely and entirely because God is in this. He is leading us every step of the way and I just put my simple faith and trust in God.

And even though I've come to a place where I'm spiritually OK that God had us here and was doing something in our lives, I am also very ready to move on and for healing to take place in our bodies. It is time Oh Lord for the promises in our life to be fulfilled. I want to be able to answer the call God has in my life and to start walking out what He has been showing me.

Psalm 143:7-11
Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter.
10 Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.
11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.

  This song came on Spotify as I was writing this and it seemed quite appropriate. Sometimes God says, "stay"! Sometimes God says, "go"! We have to listen to Him and follow appropriately.

1 comment:

Kel P. said...

Hey Dana:) I've had Lyme Disease for 13 + years, and we share many of the same symptoms. Also like you, I'm a Christian on a journey searching for healing! I found your blog in the process and have been checking it for updates to see where you at now. I'm so glad to finally see a new post! Thank you so much for sharing your health struggles and what God is teaching you. I hope your healing comes soon... Chronic illness is such a battle day in and day out. I will be praying for you... :) Kelley