“There is another side to my wilderness. I am only going through it. I am not camping in the wilderness permanently. I am not settling. I am prepared to keep moving because my God is with me.” – Rachel Wojo
These words caught my attention immediately this morning, as I opened Rachel Wojo’s Bible study Never Alone to begin my devotional time. Why? Because once again our family is in a wilderness situation.
It’s been a week since my husband, adult daughter and I decided to take some much needed family time and go out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants. Since they have handicapped parking right next to the door, I decided to use my walker instead of my wheelchair that usually goes with me on all outings. We enjoyed the meal and the time together, but by the time we left the restaurant I was struggling with shortness of breath and wishing we hadn’t left the wheelchair at home.
I made it to the car, and we started on our way to one final stop before heading home. Suddenly, on one of the busiest streets on our end of Houston, the car abruptly stopped and we were stuck in heavy traffic. After one attempt to get the car into neutral so it could be pushed off the street into a nearby parking lot failed, my husband was finally able to get the gear to shift and some strangers pushed us to safety. Then we waited for a wrecker and a friend we had called to arrive so we would have a way home.
We had been having trouble with our car since having some transmission work done several months earlier, so my husband suspected the problem was transmission related and had the car towed to the transmission shop. But once the mechanics looked at the car, they concluded there was no way to prove the problem was related to their work and therefore they would not cover the repairs under the warranty on their work. So we now had a dead vehicle, our only means of transportation, a budget stretched so thin we were barely covering it monthly, and no way we could come up with to either repair or replace our car.
What do you do when you face a situation like this? My first reaction was to give place to thoughts of fear and anxiety, but I knew this wasn’t the right response. So my husband and I prayed, turning this situation we saw no way out of over to the Lord. And as of today, that’s where it still is, with no understanding of how God is going to solve this problem.
Many years of walking with the Lord have taught me several things concerning how to walk through a wilderness situation such as this one, when in our own understanding we feel trapped and see no way out.
- Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Acknowledging we don’t have an answer but He does is the first necessary step, as we commit the situation to the Lord through prayer.
- Recognize our emotions will not always line up immediately with our decision to entrust our situation to the Lord. Therefore, we must make a commitment not to allow our emotions to effect our decision.
- Spend time meditating on Scripture. This renews our minds with the truth of God’s Word, which we need to stand upon when fear and doubts come in like a flood.
- Keep a grateful heart in the midst of the trial. A graphic of one of my favorite quotes on being thankful hangs in my bedroom, where I see it every morning. It is from Ann Voskamp and says, “There’s always, always, always, something to be thankful for.” This is a daily reminder for me to look for the evidence of God’s goodness in the midst of every trial and to give him thanks.
- Remember what God has done in the past, when He has come through for us in similar situations. This builds our faith that He will meet our current need also.
The last time we were in a similar situation, receiving an answer to our prayers took a lot longer than we expected. God is faithful, but He seldom works on our time table. I’ve walked out these steps during the past week, and I’ll probably need to walk them out many more times in the future, both in this trial and in future ones.
For now, I’m holding onto God’s promise that this wilderness is not our permanent residence. We are passing through, and with His strength and provision we will make it to the other side. I don’t know what you are facing right now, but these principles provide the keys for each of us to make it to the other side.
Sometimes He Calms the Storm!