On the Way, Through the Wilderness
It's okay to enjoy the good things.
Kind of a basic idea, right? But I didn't believe it for the longest time. Do you ever get to a place where things have been hard for so long, you don't really know any different? You've lost the ability to enjoy the good stuff. And I was there.
But God gives good gifts, even in the hard places. It's kind of a shame not to enjoy them. And he doesn't give gifts so that I would be merely happy, but in order that I would see he is a good Father. The gifts in themselves are the not the point-they always point back to the Giver.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"
There are many tangible blessings in my life, evidence of asking and receiving from the hands of a loving God. Some things I ask for, he does not give. He knows better. He knows how my heart would be turned by certain desires, mostly material and physical. But when I'm asking according to his will, and in line with his character, he gives and gives and gives. He gives love in abundance. He provides for our family. He brings unity when circumstances would fracture and divide. He has surrounded me with people who love me better than I deserve.
But sometimes I'm the kid that expects a snake. I'm no better than an Israelite, darkly suspecting I've been brought to the wilderness to be killed.
All along, the wilderness has been the place where I've been taught how to quietly trust and walk with a God who parts the water in front of me, giving me life in the barren stretches of my circumstances. The God who stands by me day and night, leading me to something good always. This is where my mustard seed faith is put through fire, the insubstantial burned away with only a very small core remaining. But it's the part where life occurs, where light is converted into energy, and it grows.
There will always be a wilderness, just as there will always be a good God to lead me through it. And one of those things is temporary. I'm simply passing through, into the promised land.