And God was with the boy as he grew up in the wilderness. He became a skillful archer, and he settled in the wilderness of Paran. His mother arranged for him to marry a woman from the land of Egypt. - Genesis 20:20-21
Our God is not only a God that keeps his promises, he is also a God that stays by our side as we journey through life.
The unbelief of Sarai and Abram led to the birth of Ishmael. Jealousy and a hardened heart led to Ishmael being banished by his father to the wilderness. A place where there was no protection, not consistent source of food or water, and no warm bed in a tent.
The one thing Ishmael found consistently during his time in the wilderness was the LORD. God was with him as he grew up, he watched over him at night, provided for him so he did not go thirsty or hungry, and kept him safe. When everyone else gave up on him and his mother, God was there.
I think we all go through times of living in our own personal wilderness. Times when we feel disconnected with friends and loved ones, times when nothing seems to go our way, our businesses struggle, our relationships suffer - and we feel alone.
As a Christ follower there is hope in these difficult times because of the promises of God but also because of God's active engagement in our life. God never disconnects. He pursues. He walks along beside us. Sometimes we only see our footprints, but if we take the time to reflect we see His as well.
We see God's protection, his provision, his comfort, and his love. We feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, convicting us to stay the course - not give up - and do what is right. We hear the voice of Christ as we read the Word of God, giving us instructions on how to pray, have faith, and trust in the LORD.
Our God is with us while we travel through the wilderness of life. This is Good News for us to reflect on and share. Good News for us to comfort others with that don't know this about God. Good News for us to remember and act on it each day.
I'm convicted today to stop seeing my life through the lens of the wilderness but instead through the lens of God's promises and comforting presence in my life. When I acknowledge this and give God my focused attention, then I am able to handle any season of life and any wilderness experience.
God, thank you for walking with me in the wilderness of life. Thank you for being by my side, even when I do not see you. Holy Spirit help me to live life in a way that allows me to fellowship with you and bear fruit no matter what my surroundings. Jesus, teach me how to have more courage and increased faith that you are with me each day. Amen.
- What the times in your life where you have felt the presence of God?
- How do you handle the seasons of life where you find yourself in the wilderness?
- Is there someone you love, lead, and serve that is in the wilderness right now and needs to hear the Good News of God's love for them?
Make it a great day!