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Redemption in the Wilderness

"Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There The Lord will display His glory, the splendor of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.”

Isaiah 36:1-3

When my husband and I first married, we were young in our faith. He being a brand new Christian, me having renewed my faith in the Lord after a season of horrific abuse. We both literally drank up every word spoken by our Pastors and any elder of the faith. We were like trees planted by the water, ready to grow and produce fruit. One of the most impactful things shared with us from an associate Pastor at our church was to “live on a green light” when approaching decisions. Assume The Lord is ready and waiting for you to put action to your faith and wait for Him to lead by “traffic lights” to go, wait or stop.

At first glance, this may sound like wise advice, as it might lead us to believe it is giving the Lord the opportunity to guide us through the decisions we face on a daily basis. It wasn’t until we were nearing our twentieth year of marriage, when we ended up in a barren wasteland, that the Lord lovingly corrected the intentions of our heart and revealed to us that that type of theology actually puts us in the driver’s seat and removes the Lord from having control over the adventure of our lives. It’s what some might refer to as “presumptuous sin” (Deut. 1:41-43)

Having lived in Alaska for most of my life, raising our six children there, and seeking the Lord in the construction of our house that quickly became a home, we grew numb to the blessings surrounding us. In a moment of flighty curiosity, we put our home on the market, “living on a green light”, waiting for The Lord to direct us through the journey of moving our family of 8 from Alaska to Florida. Our home quickly sold and we left it all behind. The details were not quite forthcoming and we knew it may be several months before my husband may be able to restart our construction company in Florida, so he opted to stay behind in Alaska until the “traffic lights” cleared the way.

After a series of devastating financial circumstances, such as my husband being offered a lofty position in Florida, selling our company and fleet truck, losing thousands of dollars in contracts, and moving him here earlier than expected, only to find out the company was corrupt and wouldn’t pay him as promised, we very quickly found ourselves on our knees in desperation.

The Lord was faithful to supply an answer and my husband moved back to Alaska to reopen our business, but we were thoroughly humbled and I battled several months of despair, depression and anxiety as we faced the possibility of losing our down payment on our home here. I missed our Alaskan home with an ache that far exceeded any grief I had ever experienced and I carried a weight of regret that crippled me.

In a moment of anguish and desperation, I sought the counsel of my father, and two trusted Godly woman, who implored me to repent of leaving the Lord at the intersection of “living on a green light” and run back into His arms. I took their advice and found a peace in that moment of prayer that I won’t soon forget. Relinquishing control of the future and giving Him the wilderness of my present helped me realize that I was not alone, that home is not a place, home is a Person, the Person of Jesus. He was waiting there right where we left Him, lovingly disciplining us to keep us from making worse decisions. His power to redeem any circumstance is only limited by our willingness to give it back to Him with a repentant and grateful heart.

God desires to be the guide on our journey through life, not the traffic lights we gaze at in passing.

Have you ever found yourself in a wilderness of your own making? Were you able to find your way back to Abba Father? If not, I hope this will encourage you to find Him there, right where you left Him.

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