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Are you in the Desert of Trials?
Every Christian has been through a lot before conversion. The word of God says, "They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." (Rom 3:12 NKJV)
We dance, we sing a joyful song the moment we become Christian... thinking that everything will be all right. Thinking that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior is our rock of strength. Every time we received blessings from God, we all say... "Glory to God!" This has happened not only to one but also to almost all Christians. However, what will you do if you met trials all along the way of your life?
Before I was saved, I was in complete darkness of my life. I was then a Catholic. I loved God in my own way. He was always my only hope and my comforter. However, there are many things that I did not understand that led me to find Him and that even made it worst. I seek Him in the wrong place. Along that way... I did not walk with the walk a Christian is supposed to do. There was even a time when I cried out to God... "Where are you Lord? Why have you forsaken me?" Little did I know that cry from my heart was answered by the Lord. I was asking for peace and happiness. I was asking to live with freedom. No fear. I want to live with complete peace in Him. I want to get out of that desert where I was!
And I did! He sent me an angel in my life to deliver His message that He loves me and that He never leaves me nor forsake me. I was saved!
I was so ecstatic being saved. Not only that, God has granted me a wonderful angel of my life, my husband. He is my mentor next to God.
Yet, I realized later that following Jesus is not that easy. This is the biggest misconception of us Christians... Jesus did not promise comfort when we are saved. Jesus said... "Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matt 16:24 NIV) He said further in Matt 10:38, "and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me." (NIV)
It is very clear that being Christians, we are following our God, Lord, and Savior who is the supreme model of all virtues that no human can excel nor can equal.
The question is, are you carrying your cross and following Jesus? Is your cross too heavy to carry? This might give us things to meditate and for reflections regarding our real relationship with God.
We imagine the life of the Israelites. They have been provided by God for everything they need. God took them out from the bondage of slavery from Egypt so He could bring them to the promised land of milk and honey. God did not lead them to the Philistine camp in case they will see "war" and they might return to Egypt. So instead, He led them into the way in the desert. Then, they experienced thirst and hunger. They started to complain and question God. They blamed God. God is a God who provides. He is the possessor of the heavens and the earth. But the faith of the Israelites was not enough to trust in God.
It is the same with our life. Are you in the desert of trials in your life? The desert of trials is a kind of test for us. God is forming our character. God has always a wonderful plan for us. If at this time we encounter hardships, either in material or spiritual, God has always a reason and a purpose for us. Sometimes God will bring us in the desert so that we would realize that we should be dependent upon Him. Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5 NIV)
The desert resembles the phase or chapter in the book of our life where we are thirsting for water. Thirsty for water and food. Are we talking about the human food here? We are talking about more than bread and butter. We are talking how our life is being shaped. How the desert of trials molded our character. God took away the pride in our hearts, and taught us to be humble before Him. How we live independently from the wonderful plan of God and making ourselves lord over our life, that is, by following our own desire, which is not a part of God's plan for us. It is a desert of discipline. God knows our hearts. The Holy Spirit searches our hearts. God teaches us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ who is the exact representation of the Father in all our character.
Hebrews 12:5-6 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, "My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
The Greek terms paideuō (G3811), paideia (G3809), paideutēs (G3810): instruct, discipline. These related words mean the teaching and molding of a student according to a behavioral standard. The verb (paideuō) describes the action, and paideutēs is one who trains and guides. It can refer to formal training, but often it refers to a parent’s disciplining, training, and correcting his child. Such training at times should be gentle, yet it also includes discipline
In Hebrew word, it is mûsâr (moo-sawr') From H3256; properly chastisement; figuratively reproof, warning or instruction; also restraint: - bond, chastening ([-eth]), chastisement, check, correction, discipline, doctrine, instruction, rebuke.
God is interested in what we are than in what we do. God wanted eager and able pupil, learner, willing and us to be matured disciples. He wanted us to fully ready and matured enough to handle responsibilities. Sometimes growing hurts... we would pass many tests and trials but that is how our faith becomes stronger in the Lord. Completely giving our life to follow Jesus and trying our best to get out of that desert.
The dryness in the land of our prayer life and Christian life is always there if we are not watchful. The enemy is always at the back, just waiting for his timing to attack and devour his victim. But the Holy Spirit in us will always remind us... if we are really walking in the light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Ephesians 4:30 says, "And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption."
Just continue to walk in that desert, even if it is very hot, and you can feel the sunny sky, which made you more hungry and thirsty in your journey. Cry out to God for water... for He is the living water and He is the bread of life. Do not be afraid of the snakes and scorpions that you may encounter... they are all subject to us. Jesus has given us all that authority to trample serpents and scorpions, even more than that, our names is written in heaven. Luke 10:19 say, "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." “(NIV)
Our dependency upon God and our humble spirit, having a daily communion with the Holy Spirit, will let us be molded and conformed to the type of person we are meant to be according to God's will and purpose for us. We have a divine teacher and a wonderful God in Christ Jesus who is always with us... We will be able to sustain the desert of trials with Christ in our life as it makes us stronger in our faith. Amen!