En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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My Light in the Wilderness

Posted by Scott on November 17, 2009

from “A Pilgrimage through the Wilderness” by Scott Bailey

John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world,  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” 

 

 

    One of the books that has had a remarkable impact on my life is William Manchester’s
    magnificent biography of Winston Churchill entitled The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill:
    Alone (1932-1940). In this book Manchester describes those years when Churchill was the single
    voice in the House of Commons who tried to warn his country against the impending threat of
    Nazi Germany. He begged his fellow citizens to arm their country and to prepare for what he
    knew would be a German takeover of Europe.
    Churchill later referred to these years as the “Wilderness Years.” He was alone. He was
    jeered, made fun of, and ridiculed in every imaginable fashion. For eight long years he was a
    lone voice in the wilderness, urging his people to wake up to the evil that surrounded them on
    every side.
    But in that terrible spring of 1940, when the Low Countries fell to the German
    Wehrmacht and France finally collapsed in defeat as well, the King of England, George VI,
    turned to Winston Churchill as the one person in England who had the power to unite his people.
    He was the one person who had warned England of what would happen with Hitler in power. On May
    10th Churchill was summoned to Buckingham Palace and invited by the king to form a coalition
    government. On his way from the palace back to his home Churchill commented to his driver
    that he believed that every event in his life had prepared him for this moment: every
    disappointment, every heartache, every ridicule, every set back had prepared him for the task that
    was now before him.
   
    History tells us Winston Churchill was prepared in the wilderness for such a time as WWII. Each event had prepared him for this special mission in history. God had exhibited light on Churchill to catch a vision for what the future would hold if two or three wild dictators were let loose on the world. Churchill was called on to come out of the wilderness into the foothills of a great mountain to climb in defeating the Nazi army and fascism. In similar

At some point in our life we all find ourselves in such a dark place spiritually. Cold and lifeless, quiet and without motion in a darkness difficult to explain can be one of the most fearful times in any Believer’s life. 

fashion, we should remain in God’s light while taking this pilgrimage through the dark wilderness. It is from His great light we need for the next step, not necessarily a lighted pathway revealing our entire future.
   
    “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turn my darkness into light.” -Psalm 18:28 (NIV)
   
    Have you ever been out after midnight or later without a glimmer from the moonlight, or even street lights? It is a deep dark and scary place. It is so dark you cannot even see your hand in front of your face at first. At some point in our life we all find ourselves in such a dark place spiritually. Cold and lifeless, quiet and without motion in a darkness difficult to explain can be one of the most fearful times in any Believer’s life. Matthew Henry states:
   
    “Let those who walk in darkness, and labor under discouragements, take courage; God Himself will be a Light to them.”
   
    In those darkest hours of our life, when all hope seems to be lost, our Lord will pierce through the darkness with the purest Light of the Son of God. Jesus presents us with hope for those long waiting periods for the dawn of day and He conquers our darkened fears with the Light of His Word.

Go to the Word of God
   
    I hear and see so many people find themselves deeply troubled in finances, marriage, health problems, unemployment, with friends, neighbors, family, and enemies. Troubles will find us no matter who we are and each day has many issues, rest assured. When those times clearly present themselves our reaction shows who we are and the character our foundation is built upon. Today, I would say most run to another person, mentor, counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or minister. This is not all bad, but most people want some kind of quick fix to deep rooted issues. If these professionals or willing volunteers will point people to God’s Word for direction, encouragement, answers, and healing our psych-wards would be empty today. Fact is these people take a “worldly” approach to advising people which only serves to compound the problems even more. Go to the Word of God and immerse yourselves in it. I cannot stress this enough. All of the answers, guidance, encouragement, revelation, healings, and courage can be found there. Make God your counselor, your healer, your mentor, and the light for the pathway through the darkest hours of each day.
   
    An unknown author once quipped, “Faith is the light that guides you through the darkness.” We must understand something here, many people around us face dark times. Some commit suicide to escape this unbearable darkness in the wilderness. Others get on drugs or alcohol to escape the dark world. Some use sexual encounters, whether real or fantasy, in an attempt to forget those dark sorrows for a moment. Whatever the release you can think of people use it, but the sad part is they have no faith in Jesus Christ and are never healed from their darkest season of life.
   
    Those of us claiming to be trusted Believers, should face our darkest moments with a faith that sheds a bright light which pushes the darkness away. The awesome power of the Word of God cannot be encroached by any darkness. If this is what we believe then why do we make every excuse and effort to stay away from God’s Word? Do we find it too hard to obey? Is it that we cannot commit ourselves into the waiting arms of Jesus and admit we cannot fix our problems and neither can anyone else? One of the biggest struggles I see in the world today is people refuse to trust in the Light only Jesus Christ offers. They would rather set in the dark, cultivating self-pity, feeding their sinful desires, pumping up their own egos, rather than living victoriously in the Light of Christ. This shows just how sinfully depraved people are by refusing the Light in order to stay in their own darkness.
   
    David sings a song in 2 Samuel 22:29:
   
    “You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.”
   
    This great verse in Psalm goes much further to describe what David would do because of God’s tremendous enablement. This would be the Old testament version of Philippians 4:13. David understood his abilities were possible because of God’s blessing and favor on his life. The same song is found in 2 Samuel repeated in Psalm 18:28. David knew the light was in his life. He knew who his sustainer was. David did not mind singing about it either.

When the time comes to do what God has asked us to do, the strength will be there. When we find ourselves in a hole and not able to get out, the help will be there. When our body feels week and it seems we cannot take another step, God will uphold us.

Do not fear
   
    Many times darkness will come over me and the tendency is to fear it. At times I can identify the darkness and at other times it comes from out of nowhere like a thick fog dense fog around a swampy pond. I have to remind myself God will turn this dark moment into His precious light. I look at it like this; I am on a journey in this life, on a narrow road or pathway, with dark places covering the road. My reliance is found with the Lord. He becomes the lamp for my feet and the light on my path. So, this darkness pushes me to watch the light my Lord provides me in order to go another step on this pilgrimage through it. Notice I said “through it”? We will go through dark valleys, dark wildernesses, or even dark deserts. These dark dry times are not going to be easy. Remember, anyone’s pilgrimage through the wilderness is through a dark, lonely, dry place, where the snakes are venomous and nights are cold, but God tells us in His Word:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”(Isaiah 41:10)

God tells us over and over throughout Scripture, “Do not fear” or “Do not be afraid”. If God is the One who is telling us this, we can rest on the promises He has made concerning our situations in life. He says, “I am with you”. He also tells us, “I am your God.” So, why do we serve other gods at times? Why do put fame, fortune, and our own selfish desires ahead of God? He tells us here in these verses, “I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you…all with His righteous right hand.” Believer’s have nothing to fear in this world. When the time comes to do what God has asked us to do, the strength will be there. When we find ourselves in a hole and not able to get out, the help will be there. When our body feels week and it seems we cannot take another step, God will uphold us. Folks God’s righteous right hand is mightier than the mightiest armies on earth-past, present or future. Learn to live on the promises of God; this is why God gave us promises, they are like food for the mind and body.

To borrow a story that Dale Carnegie used in his famous book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, which was published in the 1940’s, Dale described a young medical student anxious about his formidable future.  His thoughts were on graduating high school, then graduating from med school, and then on to making a living. In actuality he was working himself into a nervous breakdown.  Then one spring day in 1871 this young man read twenty-one words from the writings of Thomas Carlyle that changed his entire way of thinking.  This young doctor became the most famous physician of his era.  He organized the John Hopkins School of Medicine and became Regis Professor of Medicine at Oxford.  His name was Sir William Osler and the words he read:  “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” 

We will experience times filled with darkness, temptations to fear and give up, attacks by our enemies, heavy burdensome tasks and more. The seasons of refinement are not easy to endure, but each Believer must experience a time like this in their life. Not all seasons of life are the same, but the lessons to be learned are for God’s greater honor and glory. Do what you can see is clearly before you and stop worrying about what you can only see vaguely out in the future.  We do not need to be anxious about what tomorrow has for us, what lies in that dusky darkness, but let God take care of the tomorrows while we take one small step at a time as God lights each step of the way for us. An old saying goes like this, “Step into the light.” As Believers in Jesus Christ, we are to step into His wonderful light.

Humiliated into usefulness
   
    The darkness exists to bring humility into our lives. God uses this time to teach us humility and then raising us back up to glorify Him. Being humbled takes time and usually dark harsh circumstances. Moses spent forty years enduring humiliation while in the desert to the point when God called him out to deliver His people, Israel, Moses thought he was unable for the task. Moses has been proud and fearless, but God transformed over a 40 year time period this arrogantly educated man into a bumbling, stumbling, speechless, sheep-herder. God would not use the Moses at forty years old, but He would use the Moses of 80 years old.

…we serve a God who is willing to submerse us into the desert wilderness and humiliate us to the point of submitting to His commands in order to raise us up another day to victory.

Why does God choose people with little to no influence on the world, the nobodies to carry His message forward? I believe for the most part it is because of what God teaches us in the Bible that we have nothing we can boast in of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9). We have not created anything apart from His work in our lives, we did not save ourselves, and we cannot save others. However, we can give glory where glory is due…to God the Father! It is Him who sustains us, gives us strength, and guides us through those dark wilderness valleys. Nothing comes from us; everything is from God and Him alone. Without God’s Light in the darkness we will never succeed or go forward. Churchill was humbled tremendously in the years between WWI and WWII. They refined him, humbled him and prepared to finish the race strong. He led the British Empire to an over whelming victory against the greatest odds England had ever known. We too are up against those same odds, however, we serve a God who is willing to submerse us into the desert wilderness and humiliate us to the point of submitting to His commands in order to raise us up another day to victory.

In a story told by Isobel Kuhn, missionary to China some 60 plus years ago, as she ran from Communist who were over taking China with her son Danny in tow.  She ended up in upper Burma stranded at what she called “the worlds end”.  She had no money and could not speak the language and was half a globe away from home, she later wrote, “I cannot tell you the dismay and alarm that filled me.”  In her perplexity, in her wilderness, feeling very helpless at that moment, she made two decisions.  “The first thing is to cast out fear, because the only fear a Christian should entertain is the fear of sin.”   Isobel’s second determination was to “seek light for the next step.” 

Isobel did make it home safely with her son, but she had to travel trusting God for His guidance each small step she took under the guiding light of her Lord.  We, too, have to take each step of our pilgrimage in the wilderness in small increments as God shines His light on the steps…if no light shines then stop and wait.  He will give us the ability to withstand the waiting as He prepares to shed glorious light on our next step.

by Scott Bailey (C) 2009

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2 Responses to “My Light in the Wilderness”

  1. tharian m kurian said

    I have no suitable words to express my joy after reading this article. My loving brothe Scot. this is really great!!!!!!!!
    Power packed words to drive away fear, darkness,and all negativeness. I really thank you for this wonderful words.
    hoping your family, works and all going nicely
    I am o k in saudi arabia. let me once again tell you that this articles is a really like an oasis in my desert life.Requesting your prayers, I too remember you and ur family in my little prayers
    lovingly Tharian m kurian

    N.B.
    I like to ask you a help from you, Before more than one year in one of your posting you have said a story of Anton Chekov to show how valuable Word of God is.
    I request you to please tell me which edition was it if possible.(a person put to prison, as understanding the value of the Word of God he volunteerly withdraw from bet just one day before the prison term 14years or so on……….)

    • Scott said

      Thank you for the words. This is actually a chapter in a book I just wrote. We are in the process of getting it published and on the market. My prayer is early 2010 we can have it on the market, but everyone will get an email with the details.
      I will have to look back to see about the Anton Chekov story. Most likely was from an issue of Voice of the Martyrs, but I will let you know.

      Pressing on in Christ,
      Scott

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