I continue to wander in the wilderness. I didn’t choose this journey, it chose me. I know that there is an end, but most of the time I am unable to see any further than what is before my eyes. Many days, I am sure that I have seen this land before, but not exactly sure how I arrive back to the same spot over and over or how to move forward. My life seems to revolve in a circle. On and on it goes.
This journey in the wilderness began two years ago- April 2014 is when I was hit with the news that my child had been using drugs. Not a once or twice experimental type of thing, but daily. How could I have missed this? We were the parents that were involved in absolutely EVERYTHING!!!! But, needless to say, we were naïve. So the journey began….. It has included every hurt and pain imaginable. It has included every fear that could possibly enter your mind. It has ripped my heart open a thousand times. It has included hopes and disappointments. It has included good days and grace days.
These years have reminded me of Moses and the children of Israeal. God promised Moses deliverance. However, a journey that should have taken only a few weeks took 40 years. God mad a promise, and it eventually was fulfilled. But because of the Israelites hard hearts, rebelliousness, lack of discipline and self- control; they spent 40 years wandering in a circle. God’s plan for them never changed, but because of their hearts and disobedience, His plan was delayed.
There are days that I am the Israelites:
- I feel trapped. My “Pharaoh”, fear, is chasing me. My fear is larger than life because it’s friend addiction has a grip on my child. My fear tells me that it will win. But my God tells me that He will win! He tells me to “Be Still and watch Him rescue my son. To stay calm.” (Exodus 14: 13-14 Don’t’ be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Lord will fight for you. Just stay calm.)
- I grumble and complain. I see positive results, but it’s not good enough. I want more. I want results immediately. Exodus 16- The Israelites complained wanting food and God gave them manna everyday; but that wasn’t good enough. They wanted the meat that they had in Egypt.
There are days when my son is the Israelites:
- He allows a substance to take the place of God. When we allow anything to dominate our life- we are making it a god. God warned the Israelites to put Him first. It was His first commandment. You must not make any other god before me! In Exodus 32 they saw that it was taking Moses a long time to come from the mountain and Aaron took all of the gold and made a calf. The next morning they began to celebrate and feast and they indulged in pagan revelry. They fell into this pit of sin so fast. Only one day after the gold calf was created and they had turned to something other than God for assurance.
- He looses perspective. He was raised with love and adoration. He was given disciple along with unconditional love. He was taught that God is God and that God is full of mercy and grace. But he looses his perspective of who he is in Christ. He only sees the mistakes and is unwilling to forgive himself; therefore, we continue our walk in the wilderness. In Numbers 14- The Israelites lost their perspective when they focused on their fear of giants in the land and the fortified walls. They let their emotions rule and forgot about God’s true character.
All of the time that the Israelites spent complaining and rebelling, God never left them. In fact, he guided them every step of the way. (Ex 40: 36-38 whenever the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the people would set out on their journey, following it). God never let them down- he led them out of slavery, he protected them, he fed them and he fulfilled his promise. Because of this, I know that I can trust him to fulfill his promise in my son. That he will protect us. That he will lead us out of the wilderness.
No one expects to walk in the wilderness. No one wakes up and says, “I think I’ll become an addict” or “I think I will turn from God”. It starts small and before you know it, you are in the wilderness walking in a circle. But in the dark days of this journey, I remember the promise. A promise of deliverance and a day when we will walk out of the wilderness and we will see a land flowing will milk and honey.
Until that day, I have to ask myself what they could the Israelites have done differently? What if they had spent as much time praising as they did complaining and as much time praying as they did worrying? What if they had spent as much time moving forward as they did moving backward?
I am in the wilderness, but maybe instead of asking God, “what do you want me to do next”, maybe I should ask him, “what do you want me to do while I’m here in this spot”. I may not want this journey but God can use me while I’m on it!