Grace In The Wilderness

BY JESSICA THOMPSON

God’s children spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness. Imagine the hopelessness. Imagine the frustration. Imagine the seeds of distrust that were blooming into outright trees of anger and pain. “He brought us out of Egypt for this?” Some of us don’t need to imagine this anger, this pain, this sense that maybe God has forgotten or betrayed you. We know that isn’t right, we fight against our doubting hearts and try to reassure ourselves with truth. But the shadow never leaves, it always lurks in the back of our mind asking the question “What if He isn’t trustworthy? What if he isn’t good? What if he doesn’t love you? What if this wilderness is all there is?”

For those who feel like these wilderness wanderers your God says this, “’I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people,’ Thus says the Lord: ‘The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” In your wandering you are not alone. “It was in the wilderness that I knew you.” (Hosea 15:5) In your seeking for rest the Lord will appear to you. There is hope, beloved. For He has loved you with an everlasting love. His love is not a momentary impulse, but from everlasting to everlasting.

Wilderness wanderers who feel lost and unseen, those in a strange land, there is grace for you there. The grace of forgiveness in your grumbling and discontent, the grace of justification in your doubts and fears. Your God has not disowned you He has promised himself to you forever. There will be rest.

We despise the wilderness because we think we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, but once again hear the words of your watchful Father, “Bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. Make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. I will make you lie down in safety.” What we see as the valley of tears will be revealed as a door of hope. The place that we thought was hopeless will be shown as the very opening to hope. The pathway in the wilderness is littered with tears but those tears lead us to Him, the true lover of our soul. When we are stripped of all of our earthly comforts we find that the heavenly ones far exceed what we were clinging to. Find rest weary wanderers, find hope, find joy, find love all in the arms of your Savior who has journeyed through the wilderness before you and currently walks next to you.

“He loved you without beginning. Before years, and centuries, and millenniums began to be counted—your name was on His heart! Eternal thoughts of love have been in God's bosom towards you. He has loved you without a pause; there never was a minute in which He did not love you. Your name once engraved upon His hands—has never been erased, nor will He ever blot it out of the Book of Life.” (Spurgeon)

Jessica is an author of several books and a frequent conference speaker. Her heart is to see women, families, and children freed from the bondage of moralism and to live in the truth that in the gospel there is joyful freedom awaiting them. Jess has a Bachelor's Degree in Theology and with her mother, Elyse Fitzpatrick, she co-authored the books Give Them Grace and Answering Your Kids' Toughest Questions. She has also written Exploring Grace Together and Everyday Grace: Infusing All Your Relationships With the Love of Jesus. Jess believes the truth that salvation is "naked confidence in the mercy of God." She has been married to her high school sweetheart since 1995. Together they have three teenage children.

Twitter @TheJessLou