“They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.”
The disciples stood in wonder that day. In awe of the one who called them, they were wooed into the wilderness with Jesus. They didn’t hesitate to take the first step in committing their lives to an adventure with Him.
In his book, Your God is Too Safe, Mark Buchanan reminded us to do the same,
“The worst consequence of losing our imagination, our wonder, is that we no longer see the Christward life as an adventure. We see it as a duty, a chore, a list of dos, don’ts, and how-tos. We think the point of life is to stay as safe and undisturbed as possible.”
Jesus understood the wilderness differently than we do. Although Jesus was tempted to deny, disobey, and disregard God’s word in the wilderness, it became a place where he grew in trust, dependency, and humility. (Matthew 4:1-11) He turned towards opportunities to encounter His Father in the secret, obscure places. (Matthew 14:23, Mark 1:35 and 6:46, Luke 5:16 and 6:12)
Emily P. Freeman wrote,
“When Jesus slipped away to pray, he went into the liminal space of the wilderness- the in between, the place where his ancestors experienced chaos and trouble and wandering. This is where he chose to commune with his Father on earth? In a wilderness place? May we not fear our own waiting in the wilderness. May we listen for the ways he is offering himself to us-one still moment at a time.”
I found it fascinating that the Hebrew word for wilderness is midbar – it comes from the word meaning to speak or to promise. The Israelites, while on their way to the Promised Land, were led into the desert where they saw firsthand God’s abounding provision, faithfulness, and goodness. Although, it looked like a bad detour, those 40 years became essential to regaining a new intimacy with God and learning His voice.
When we stand in awe of the wilderness we are surprised to discover the peace that comes as we accept our identity as pilgrims with Jesus. We understand the paths we devise to avoid the wilderness, bypassing the mystery of the cross, might seem right or logical, but God’s ways always lead to life and He has our best in mind…even in the wilderness.
Psalm 119:15 (NLV) tells us God’s living word is a map in the wilderness, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”
Study the following scriptures in the book of Isaiah, paraphrase them in your own words. What characteristics of God stand out to you? Let these words serve as a reminder of God’s gracious, restoring, and redemptive ways towards you, others, and the world.
//Isaiah 41:18, Isaiah 42:16, Isaiah 43:19-20, Isaiah 44:3-4, Isaiah 49:10, Isaiah 51:11, Isaiah 45:2-3//
The wilderness doesn’t signal God is angry with us or that we have done something wrong, many times it is God’s invitation to us- to a deeper abiding in Him no matter our season. The New Testament word for abide (as found in John 15), meno, means to:
To be held
To wait for
When it comes to abiding with God, which of these words resonates with you? Imagine yourself walking with God, and instead of dragging your security blanket, you are abiding (being held, continuing, dwelling) with Him .
How would your life, attitudes, and perspective be different along this adventure? What does abiding look like for you right now?
My friend, Christine, shared these words,
“Maybe in all my wanderings what I am really looking for is not the path, but the Guide. Maybe in all our quests what we are really searching for is the presence of God Himself. Even more so than the pathway.
Maybe all our longings to know the way to go is to really know the One who is the Way.
My Wandering led me to the One who is the Way.”
In the wilderness, it can feel much like we are wandering, but God promises His purposes will pervade our steps.
Read Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5. His faithful presence will overshadow our need for answers and perfect clarity, giving us eyes to see the wonder of the wilderness, even when we feel like returning to our nets, our fish,or our lake side view. It’s time to let go of certainty, this adventure God has called you on is rarely ever safe…
“Maybe faith isn’t as much formula as the mystery of being drawn to, surrendering to, the overwhelming love and will of the most dangerous Reality in all the universe.” Ann Voskamp
My Brave Response…
Write out Proverbs 3:5-8, Proverbs 14:12, and Isaiah 55:8-9 below. Then take some time to part with your well-devised plans to find safety and security. Scribbling them out in black and white can make surrender more real, but do what you need to do to give your heart space to surrender to His ways.
Share with God your desire to see the wonder in your wilderness…herein, lies your adventure.
Then read Hosea 2:14-15, make it God’s word to you, replace her and she with you and your.
If you’d like to print out this little study to go through at a quieter time, you can do so here!
Walking with you,