2018 is done! Hallelujah! I am not going to lie. I am so glad it is over. 2018 hit me hard in every way imaginable — relationally, physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, and spiritually. There were moments when I honestly believed it would take me out. It was probably the most traumatic year of my life. But God was ever so kind to me by bringing new friendships into my life and giving me experiences that have changed me forever. He brought growth and freedom I’ve never known before.
I know that God was not the author of anything bad that happened, but He sure has brought immense good out of it. That is what He does, that is who He is.
God is a Father who is good to His children — even in the wilderness.
And there are some things we experience in our wilderness seasons that we don’t always experience in our mountaintop experiences. “In Hebrew, the word for wilderness is midbar. It is surely interesting that the root of midbar has the meaning of ‘speak’ or ‘word.’ God speaks to us in the wilderness” (Word of God Today).
2018 taught me that:
1. He refines us.
No one likes the word pruning, unless you’re a gardener. A gardener knows the bloom that awaits after the pruning. In the midst of our pain, we can’t even fathom what’s on the other side, let alone making it there. But that’s not our job. Our job is to trust God’s ways and timing in the midst of our process. He sees all that draws us away from Him and all that does not honor Him. He cuts those things away only for our good and because He loves us. He prunes us to make us more like Christ. He prunes so that we may bear not only fruit but much fruit.
2. We grow in intimacy with Him.
If you’re like me, wilderness seasons often leave me at a loss of what to do. I so badly want to be able to fix whatever is wrong and make it all go away. The Father desires to do that, but His timing tends to be different than ours. His process tends to be different than ours. He requires us to wait. The waiting seems to take forever, but there is purpose in the waiting. It’s an active wait.
It is in the waiting where we actively and purposefully seek His heart as our Father through prayer, worship, and His Word. We learn to hear His voice clearly and discover His purposes for us.
3. He prepares us for the next season.
Seasons are just that, seasons. They don’t last forever. One day, we’ll look up and realize we are on the other side. We’ll see where we began and all that we’ve walked through. We will praise the Lord for His sustaining grace, and we’ll understand that all of the lessons learned in the wilderness and the growth we experienced were not wasted.
They’ll serve as a foundation for the new season He brings us into. We’ll walk in a new level of authority so we can impart every revelation and let it serve as wisdom and encouragement to those coming after us in hard seasons.
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.
James 1:2-4 (NASB)
Our faith must be worked out, and often times, it is worked out through trials and wilderness seasons. But let’s hold on to hope, who is Jesus. Let His unwavering peace overwhelm us. His joy is our strength, and His strength will carry us.
I would definitely describe this year as a long and unwanted one. But I wouldn’t trade the fruit He has produced in me and through me for anything. That is always His goal — to accomplish a work in us and through us that is deep and lasting.
Your wilderness season doesn’t have to be hopeless. It doesn’t have to discouraging. It doesn’t have to be barren. It can yield an abundance of good fruit that can go forth and impact the world around you.
What fruit have you experienced in your wilderness seasons?
As we walk through the wilderness, let's hold on to hope, who is Jesus. Let His unwavering peace overwhelm us. -@karina268: Click To Tweet