Leaving the Wilderness

Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them.

— Joshua 1:2

“You’re fired.” The church board chairman thrust the termination letter at the pastor and his wife. Linda recoiled and reached for her husband’s hand. She could not believe these people could be so cruel. So heartless. So vindictive. After 30 years of dedicated ministry, she and her husband didn’t deserve to be cast out this way.

Job rejection letters piled up. Bitterness grew. Thoughts of revenge nipped at Linda’s heels as her fifty-five-year-old husband struggled to find a new vocation in a world that did not value ministry experience. It felt as if God had abandoned them in the wilderness.

A dear friend offering comfort dared to speak truth. “If you’re in the wilderness now, then God must have rescued you from 30 years of bondage.”

Had Linda been a slave to her small ideas of a much bigger God? The idea of being set free to pursue a deeper relationship with God was a sledgehammer to Linda’s frozen heart, and she could see God’s hand in her spiritual growth. While she was in bondage, God had protected her. He’d provided in the wilderness. Now she saw the hope of who she could become. But leaving the wilderness would require Linda to rise from the ashes of her grief, cast off the weight of bitterness and boldly walk toward the promise.

What is this promise? Philippians 1:6 says it best: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

God promises to rescue us from whatever enslaves us. But leaving old habits and comfort zones will push us into strange and uncomfortable territory. However, God promises that He will be at work. He is changing us and growing us into different people. Stronger people. Better people. He’s making us new creatures that look more like Him.


Today’s One Thing  

In what area of life do you feel like you’re in the wilderness? What is one bold step you can take today to put some distance between you and this burden? Dare to walk forward in faith.

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