We all know that life on this earth isn’t easy. It is
a journey that begins with our conception and extends until we die.
Fortunately, most of us, especially those who have been blessed to have been
born in the United States of America, have many happy times amidst the trials
and tribulations that come from living in a fallen world. But, those of us who know
Christ as our Savior have the additional benefit of having an internal peace
and happiness that gives us the ability, with God’s help, to handle the adverse
times that we encounter here on earth. This internal peace and happiness along
with the many joyous times of celebrations and achievements gets us through the
times of trials and tribulations. This is because Christians have trusted in our faithful God, and we know that we also have
God pulling us through the hard times as He teaches us how to trust in and be
dependent upon Him. God’s love for His children is also seen even during our
times of discipline and hardship, or even during the desert periods or desert experiences
of our lives. Moreover, we know that no matter how hard the times get God will
never abandon us, even as He continues to teach us to be dependent on Him.
As we journey through life, everyone will be given a
chance to come to know their Creator and Savior. Some people get a chance to know Him when they are told of Jesus
Christ as a small child and believe on Him, while others may hear, understand,
and finally accept Christ’s love and Salvation in later life or old age. But
rest assured, we can come to Christ at any point in our lives, if we are just
willing to hear the Gospel message and then believe on Christ. But, we only get
the chance to come to God through His Son, Jesus Christ, sometime before we take our
last breath, die and leave this earth. After that it is too late, because our
eternal decision has already been made.
Unfortunately, during their life journey many other
people will hear the Holy Spirit calling and nudging them to make a decision to
believe on and accept Christ as their Savior, but they will just ignore or
refuse to recognize God and His Son, basically because of their pride. You see,
whether we are rich or poor, our pride and our reliance on a known quantity,
i.e. life as we know it, often keeps people from trusting in God’s provision
for their eternal souls. Still other people’s life struggles create an anger deep
within them that keeps them from believing in a loving God. They cling to their
anger and will simply refuse to accept the gift of love, mercy and grace that
was offered for their Salvation, because they are too angry at the world and themselves, or they are just too prideful to humble themselves enough to ask for
forgiveness for their sins. This is no surprise to Jesus, though, for He even said,
that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a
rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
(Matthew 19: 23. NASB).
But it isn’t just the rich who refuse to
believe in Christ thus refusing God’s gift and invitation to enter the kingdom
of God. For many poor people will also refuse to accept Christ as their Savior
for various reasons including anger and pride. However all the reasons given by
both the rich and the poor all boil down to one truthful reason which is their
pride. This means that all their reasons actually stem from some type of
It should be easy to come to know God and to
understand that God has given us the greatest gift of all – an opportunity to
have eternal life through repentance of our sins and belief on God's Son, Jesus Christ. Here again, though, many
people refuse to even believe in God, let alone believe on the risen Son of God,
which is really sad for them. But, if you have believed on Christ and have begun your
new life in Christ, you know how great and wonderful Salvation truly is. However,
receiving Salvation and a ticket to eternity in Heaven is not the end of the
blessings that will come for the believer, nor is it the end of our learning
and living for God. For, accepting God’s gift of Salvation is just the
beginning of our learning about God. It is just the beginning of our spiritual journey. Moreover, part of that journey is to determine to learn how to be obedient to God and to learn how to rely on and trust in God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Indeed, with our Salvation we are just at the beginning, or at the starting point, of a new parallel journey of spiritual growth as we journey through this earthly life.
After we are “Saved” we should be ready to study God’s Word and ready to communicate daily with God in prayer through our intercessor, Christ
Jesus, while trying to be obedient to God's directions and commandments. In other
words, we are to serve God and Christ all the time. This means that we are to
develop our own Christian service for the Lord like the service of Active Relational Christian Mentoring
or some other godly service that can help people come to know Christ and then live fully for Him.
Some people, though, who have initially
accepted God’s Salvation gift by repenting and believing on Christ, will still simply
refuse to grow closer to God. For some reason they do not want to do the work
of studying the Bible and learning about God and what He expects, or they simply refuse to put in the needed to time to communicate with God. Instead,
they will gladly wander around in the desert of life, because it is easier to
live in the spiritual desert of the secular world than it is to be different
and live for God. Other people will just take a longer period of time to realize that
part of their spiritual growth means learning to lean on God for all things in
life, even if there are things in this earthly world that are frustrating and
hurtful. Some people, however, actually think that they are working at spiritually maturing
when in reality they are just going through the motions and are still trapped
by the secular world and its temptations. But, no matter what we encounter in this life, we need to work at learning more and more about God and work at learning
about the things that we can do to represent Christ to the world. This means
all Christians need to reach out to others to share the Gospel message, and we
need to learn to trust God for every situation and event that occurs in our
life. In doing so, we can daily work at becoming more spiritually mature each
God will help us to grow spiritually as He will teach
us how we can draw closer to Him and how we can be ever more obedient to Him, if
we will just allow Him to lead us. Moreover, even when we are sure that we don’t
need teaching, or when we think that we can simply live life our way, God
will sometimes step in and show us just how powerful and loving that He is. Furthermore,
if we listen carefully, God will often lead us in a direction that we never expected to
go. In fact, God’s plans and ways of drawing us closer are sometimes not what
we expect or what we would want if we were given a choice. However, we just
need to remember that God has told us that His plans for us are for our best.
In fact, God said, “For I know the plans that I have for you’… They are plans for good and not
for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -- (Jeremiah 29: 11. NLT). Because God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and
omniscient He can see and know things that we cannot possibly know or see. That
is why God has told us that His plans and thoughts are quite different from
ours. Indeed, God explained this concept to the prophet Isaiah when He said, “My
thoughts are completely different from yours… and My ways are far beyond
anything you could imagine.” – (Isaiah 55: 8. NLT).
Several years ago my husband and I certainly found out
that God’s plans for us could be quite different than the plans that we make
for ourselves. Indeed, it was through a very specific desert experience that my husband and I found
out just how totally different God’s plans and thoughts can be from ours. Moreover, we found out that our powerful and loving God can pull us through any situations or experiences that could, in the natural world, seem be disasters. Not only
can God pull us through those desert experiences and disasters, but only God
can pull us through them unscathed while helping us become more spiritually
mature and obedient along the way.
When we go through desert experiences, we often do not
understand at that time why we are experiencing them. We also often fail to understand how they
happened or why they occurred. But, if we trust in our faithful and loving God even when we don't understand,
we can be assured that we will be able to handle any situation and that we are
not alone during the desert experience. Often, though, it is only in looking back at our desert
experience with the eyes of hindsight and in understanding the overall process that God has brought us through, that we will finally be able to grasp or comprehend why we were in the desert in the
first place. In our personal desert experience, my husband and I were finally able to look
back and see the growth and maturity that had developed within each of us during that time,
which was the result of the situation that God allowed to happen. We finally realized,
too, that God wanted us to learn to more completely trust in and obey Him in
A little later in this blog I will tell you a little more
about our personal desert experience and what we learned from it. First,
though, I want to tell you a story about the Israelites’ desert experience. I
hope that the the story of the Israelite’s desert experience when combined with the story of our personal
desert experience will somehow open your eyes to the truth of God’s love and to the
truth that everyone needs to trust in our mighty and faithful God. Moreover, I
hope that you will come to understand the importance of growing your faith and the
importance of learning to live for God in all your ways.
Most people have heard the story of The Exodus, but have you ever wondered why the Israelites found
themselves at the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army hot on their trail? Well, the
reason is that God had a plan. His plan was for “a future and a hope” for
the Israelites and not to harm them. To better understand God's plan for their future, let’s review some of the scriptures
that tell us about their exodus from Egypt.
First you need to know that Moses
wrote the first five books of the Older Testament, which also includes the book
of Exodus. Moreover, out of all the Israelites, it was Moses and his brother Aaron whom God chose to
be the ones to rescue the Israelites. But, along with the responsibility of the
rescue Moses also had the responsibility of recording the actual events of the Exodus from Egypt. So, Moses starts the recording of these amazing events by first telling us
how the Israelites had first arrived in Egypt hundreds of years before. Then Moses tells us why, after four
hundred years, the Israelites finally called out to God for His help.
The small group of Israelites who had entered Egypt
during Joseph’s time (See Genesis chapters 37, & 39-50 for
the story of Joseph and his people in Egypt) had, over four hundred
years later, grown into a very large number of people. Indeed, Moses was to be in charge of a very great multitude. In fact, the entire group of Israelites
along with a great multitude of Egyptians and foreigners who came out of Egypt
with them, comprised close to three million men, women and children. For God
sent Moses to rescue over two million Israelites from their cruel slavery under
their present Egyptian Pharaoh, but nearly another million Egyptians and other
foreigners came along with them. So, Moses was to lead, direct, and guide, this
extremely large group of people into the hands of their loving God and then into the
Promised Land, leading all of them far away from the wrath of Pharaoh. Pharaoh, though,
had already proved time and again that he did not keep his word, so even though
he had finally said that they could leave Egypt, he might again renege on his
word and not let them leave. So, when the time came to leave, these people had to
hurriedly grab their things and march quickly out of Egypt.
To the rational and human mind, it would seem that the
shortest route out of Egypt would be the best and quickest way to get away from
Pharaoh. But, that was not the way that God would take the Israelites. In fact,
Moses, through God’s direction, would lead the people the long way around and
through the desert to get to the Promised Land. So, why did God send this great
number of people the long way around and through the desert? Well, if we read
carefully, Moses starts this part of the account of their exodus with the
answer to our question of why the Israelites went the long way around. But,
even when God doesn’t tell us immediately why He wants something done a
particular way, we can rest assured that God always has the best and most
productive reason for all His actions while keeping and protecting His children
within the palms of His hands. Most of the time, we do not know until after the
fact or in hindsight why God sends us a particular way. But, in this case, God told Moses why He
chose this route. Moses then tells us why when he records the story of the
Moses tells us, as recorded in the biblical
scriptures, that: “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road
through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.” –
(Exodus 13: 17. NIV). So, we learn that there was a shorter route
that would have taken the Israelites directly to the Promised Land. But, if we
keep reading, we also learn that the shorter route was even more dangerous to
not only Israelite’s lives, but to their souls as well. For, “God
said, ‘If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and
return to Egypt.” – (Exodus 13: 17. NLT).
Why was God concerned that the Israelites would go back to Egypt if they took
the shorter route? Well, the shorter route would not only be a danger to their
physical being but to their spiritual souls as well?
In order to understand why both their physical and
spiritual lives would be in danger by going the shorter route, we need to
understand something about the Philistines. You see, the Philistines were a
vicious group of people who stole from those they encountered and who battled
other people groups to enslave them and then use them to build up their own economic
power. In encountering the Philistines, many of the Israelites could be killed
or enslaved all over again. Furthermore, with the shorter route the Israelites
could also be going from the frying pan into the fire, if they were again enslaved
or if the Philistines caused them to be so afraid that they fled back into
Egypt to again be enslaved and mistreated by Pharaoh. Worse still, if they went
back to Egypt they would never get away from the Egyptian idol worship of false
gods, and then they and future generations could succumb to the Egyptian belief
in these false gods. This would mean that the Israelites would never come to
know the One and Only True God or learn about God’s plan for the Deliverer,
Jesus Christ, to come into the world to save them. So, they could not only lose
their lives physically, but worse, lose their souls eternally.
The shorter route would mean that the Israelites could
find themselves in a very bad situation, and God certainly did not rescue them
to put them in an even worse situation. Indeed,
God had a much better plan that would allow the Israelites to see the power and
glory of God expressed at the Red Sea. Moreover, the nations of the earth would
always remember and know about God’s mighty love, power and faithfulness. For, it would be at
the Red Sea that God would do something that was beyond the imaginings of any
people. In taking them through the longer route to the Promised Land, God would
not only save the Israelites from Pharaoh, but He would give them and the surrounding
nations something to talk about for centuries to come while demonstrating His love,
faithfulness and power. Furthermore, some of those who saw the power of God
would be drawn to God, and many would then develop a closer relationship with
Him. “So God led them along a route through the wilderness toward the Red
Sea, and the Israelites left Egypt like a marching army.” –
(Exodus 13: 18. NLT).
We all know the true story of the Exodus. Just as it
looked like the Israelites were trapped and at the mercy of the Pharaoh’s
incoming army, God did an amazing and miraculous thing. He separated the waters
of the Red Sea so that the people could march across the dry sea bed to the
other shore. When the people got to the other side and saw that Pharaoh’s army
was attempting to cross the dry sea bed as well, they were very concerned and
frightened. But, then God let the waters of the sea flood back over the entire Egyptian
army, killing everyone in Pharaoh’s army and Pharaoh as well. Those who weren’t
in the army, but looking on, would tell the world of this miraculous event and
the story would be told by many nations for centuries to come of this powerful
and faithful God of the Israelites. What an all encompassing plan God had for the rescue of His people!
Being saved at the Red Sea, though, wasn’t the end of the
Israelites problems. For, even though the Israelites had been saved from
Pharaoh and his army, they would have to spend weeks traveling through the
desert, which was the longer and harder road to travel with little water or
food. But, God provided both water and food for the Israelites, just as He also protected them from their enemies. Then as they traveled the long way around, the Israelites had to learn to rely on God for everything in life. Isn't that what all of us need to learn? God is our provider. He is the One Who gives us what we need to survive. We just need to learn recognize and glorify God for Who He is and for what He has done for us. For without His love and mercy we would be doomed to eternity in Hell.
Yes, we know that God took them the longer and harder
way to save them from battling the Philistines and from losing their souls, but
couldn’t God have done an amazing miracle with the Philistine army as well? Yes,
God can do anything. But this is where the Isaiah 55: 8 scripture comes in to
help us understand why God chose to send the people through the Red Sea. In
fact, we should all remember this scripture for it is here in the book of Isaiah
that God tells us: “My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” You see we serve and awesome and powerful God.
Furthermore, we should not even begin to think that we know why God does what
He does, nor should we question His ways. For, God’s ways are totally different from our human ways. However, in
studying God’s Word, and in seeing how God has been there for His people and
for His children time and time again, we can begin to understand that
everything that God does is ultimately for our benefit and to bless us in the
long run. But, along the way of wandering in the desert, God wants us to spiritually
grow and mature. In doing so, He wants us to rely on Him, and He wants to teach
us to put our faith and trust in Him no matter how dire the situation looks or
no matter what kind of desert we find ourselves in.
Obviously, God used the Israelites’ harder road and their
time in the desert to show them how they could trust and rely on Him. Our
faithful God would not let them down. He had promised to get them out of Egypt
safely, and God did just that. But, God also used the Israelite’s time in the
desert to instruct them in His ways and to show them how much He loved them. Through
Moses God gave the people His truth, and He told them how He expected them to
live the right and godly way. They were then to pass down their new godly knowledge
to future generations and other people groups.
As the Israelites and the foreigners traveled through
the desert, God also gave Moses His commandments in order to teach the people not
only how to get along with each other and how to stay healthy, but also how to
honor, love, and obey Him. Throughout their time in the desert, God wanted the
Israelites to learn to rely on Him, and to learn that God loves them and that
He is always faithful and true to His Word. They then learned that lesson the
hard way after they first refused to obey God and enter the Promised. For, they
had to wander in the desert for an additional forty years.
God is faithful! That is the first thing the
Israelites should have learned. For, the Israelites had cried out to God to be
rescued from slavery, and God heard their cries. Then He sent Moses to rescue
them. But in answering their cry, God was also calling them to follow Him, obey
Him, and trust in Him. Obviously, they initially had to put their trust in God
to save them from Pharaoh’s army, which He did with a miracle that only God
could perform. But, the miraculous Red Sea event was not to be just a onetime
trusting and “saving” experience. This event at the Red Sea, was to be a
precursor to God’s plan for their and our Salvation that God offers to all who
will believe on His Son, Jesus Christ. In fact, everything that God did for
this large multitude of people while they were in the desert was meant to be an
introduction to their coming Savior.
Unfortunately, the Israelites did not always see what
God wanted them to see or learn what God wanted them to learn. Instead, they
learned some of their lessons the hard way. For, when it came time to enter
into the Promised Land, they allowed their fear and lack of trust in God and in
God’s designated leader, Moses, to keep them from entering the Promised Land.
Instead they believed the fearfulness of the scouts that reported on giants in
the land. Even after God brought them through the desert wilderness while
protecting them from every kind of enemy and always providing for their every
need even as He showed them His, love, faithfulness and trust, they still
refused to enter the Promised land out of fear and their human perception of a report
of giants in the land (See Numbers chapters 13-14).
It was at this point, after weeks of whining and tantrum throwing that God became
really angry because of their lack of faith in Him. So, although the Israelites were at
the entrance to the Promised Land, they had to turn around and wander
forty years in the desert. It would be their children, or the next generation,
who actually began to trust in God. Consequently, only their children, led by Joshua and
Caleb, would be allowed to enter into the Promised Land. How many of you today have refused to trust in God? How many people today end up staying in the desert
experiences of their lives, because they simply cannot trust in God or are not
willing to listen to God? How many others have refused to grow spiritually and have refused to totally live for Christ?
We humans sometimes refuse to see with our natural
eyes, let alone see with our spiritual eyes. Rather, we often see what we want
to see, or we simply ignore the truth of a situation by basing our sight on
previous experiences and perceptions. But, when we refuse to see the truth when it is right in front of us or
when we just can’t see because of the fog of our past perceptions and
experiences, we often end up wandering around like the Israelites did for forty
years; lost and trying to figure out why we have to be where we presently are.
Sadly, most of those within the rescued multitudes would not mature spiritually
or grow in their trust and faithfulness to God for years to come, if ever, because they either refused to see or were looking through their past perceptions.
Consequently, the adult generation that was brought out of Egypt would die in
the desert. Only a couple men from that generation, i.e. Joshua and Caleb, and
some of the younger people whom they taught and led out of the desert would
spiritually mature and be able to see with their spiritual eyes what God had
been teaching them.
Certainly God had called this entire group of millions
to follow Him. But it would be during
their desert experience that God would prepare the younger generation for their
entrance into the Promised Land, through the lessons learned from their
parents. For, even though God had taken them on the longer route and they ended
up wandering forty more years in the desert, there were many things that all the
Israelites learned along the way. The older generation had experienced hunger,
thirst and enemies, but they would also be able to tell the younger generation
how faithful God had been to them. They would be able to tell them about God’s
protection from their enemies and God’s provision for their food and water. They
would also be able to tell the younger generation, and even remind some of
those who also experienced it when they were a child, about the faithfulness
and love of God even in the face of their refusal to believe that God could
protect them. But for those who had forgotten or had never faced the truth even after wandering in the wilderness for forty years, Moses
again reminded all the people of what God had done for them and of the covenant
they had made with God. He also reminded them what would happen if they broke that covenant.
“Moses summoned all the Israelites and said
to them, ‘You have seen with your own eyes everything that LORD did in Egypt to
Pharaoh and all his servants and his whole country – all the great tests of
strength, the miraculous signs, and the amazing wonders. … For forty years I led
you through the wilderness, yet your clothes and sandals did not wear out. You
had no bread or wine or other strong drink, but He gave you food so you would
know that He is the LORD your God. … Therefore, obey the terms of this covenant
so that you will prosper in everything you do. … The LORD made this covenant
with you so that no man, woman, family, or tribe among you would turn away from
the LORD our God to worship these gods of other nations, and so that no root
among you would bear bitter and poisonous fruit. Let none of those who hear the
warnings of this curse consider themselves immune, thinking, I am safe, even
though I am walking in my own stubborn way. This would lead to ruin! The LORD
will not pardon such people. …’” – (Deuteronomy 29: 2, 3,
5, 6, 9, 18 – 20. NLT).
Through each of their trials and even later in their
desert wanderings God wanted the Israelites to rely on Him and to trust that He
would take care of them. The Israelites needed to learn that God is always
faithful and can always be trusted. Moreover, God promised to bless the
Israelites by making them the nation through whom the rest of the world could
come to know God and their Savior, Jesus Christ. However, in return, the
Israelites were to promise to love and obey God so that they could receive both
the physical and spiritual blessings that God had promised them. God would
always keep His part of the Covenant, but would the Israelites keep their part?
Unfortunately, the Israelites were already neglecting to keep their part of the
covenant, which would ultimately bring severe discipline.
The Israelites needed to learn that God would always
take care of them, if they just trusted in and obeyed Him. They also needed to
learn how to grow closer to God so that during the difficult times they could
turn to Him. But, we are no different today than the Israelites back then. Just
as they failed to notice God’s care and provision, we also fail to notice God’s
care and provision for our lives too. But it is during a desert experiences in our lives that
we need to put our complete faith in God and rely on and trust in God for our provision and care as well. Sadly,
instead of relying on God and maturing spiritually, many people will think that
they are the ones who actually got themselves out of the desert experience. They fail to
recognize their true provider and the One and only God. Let me assure them and
you, though, that they or you would still be in that desert experience if it
were not for God. For, God is the One who has pulled them or you through that experience. But it is up to us to recognize God and His help. It is up to us to
grow from our desert experience and to learn to trust God for all our needs. Then it up to us to give God the glory and praise for what He has done for us.
God is faithful! We can trust Him completely! But, we
have to be willing to grow and mature. We have to be willing to accept the
hardships of life while knowing that if we are faithful to God that He will
never forsake us. God will bring us through all our desert experiences. Although,
we may never find ourselves in a position like the one that the Israelites
faced at the Red Sea or the positions they later found themselves in as they
wandered around desert, we can find ourselves in situations that only
our God can get us through. But, even then we have to be willing to learn from
our desert experiences so that we do not have to stay in the desert any longer
than necessary for additional spiritual growth.
we need to realize that God takes us on the harder and longer road to teach us
what we need to learn from going the long way around. You see, God wants all of
His children to spiritually mature and to put their complete faith and trust in
Him. But sometimes, we have to be put in a desert in order to fully understand what
God wants us to learn. However, you should always remember that even if you
find yourself in a desert, that God has plans to give you a way out, if you
will just trust in Him. He has plans for "a future and a hope" for you. We simply cannot let the difficulties of life keep us
from seeing God’s direction and purpose for our lives, or keep us from growing
spiritually closer to God.
in 2007 and 2008 my husband and I found ourselves in a desert experience. It
was during this time period that we learned that God’s timing is always right
and true and that we need to always trust in His plans for our lives even when
we can’t see the outcome or a way out of the desert. We also learned that it is up to us to patiently wait for God to show us what we
are to do. We learned, too, that we cannot rush God’s timing. For, He has a plan
for our “future and a hope” that is all in His timing. More importantly,
we learned that even when we don’t know which way to turn or which path to
take, that if we put our faith in God and our trust in His ways and timing,
that things will work out and all will happen for the glory of God.
it sounds unreal, our desert experience all started with a customer’s mental
instability and his rambling words that the others took to heart as the truth. A false perception can create a lie. In this case, human perception based on previous personal experiences created a false
assumption or lie. But in looking back at the situation, we realize that only God
could have used a man’s mental instability to get a happily contented couple
that had been in one town for nearly 28 years to pull up our roots and move to
another state. Suddenly our lives were turned upside down, and we found that we
needed to move so that my husband could take a job in another state.
going through this sudden upheaval, it was like the stars had aligned in some
obscure arrangement to create an irrational catalyst for this coming desert
experience. The irrational catalyst was a man’s mental instability, combined
with the beginning of the sudden downturn in our nation’s economy. But, this
catalyst and the downturn of the economy also aligned with a great offer from a
businessman acquaintance of my husband’s; an offer to come to work in
Indianapolis, Indiana for nearly the same salary and benefits package as the
one that my husband had. But all these things coming together was not
some weird star alignment, for God had activated His personal plan for our
lives. God had a plan for us that required a desert experience in order for
us to learn that God will never forsake us (See Hebrews 13: 5b).
For, God had plans for our spiritual growth and maturity even as He prepared a future job in the Ozarks of Missouri for my husband.
my husband and I had never been further than four hours from our extended
family or from where we grew up in the Ozarks. But, our son was now an adult
and on his own, so there was nothing keeping us from making this move. In fact,
we both trusted in God that it was the right thing to do. So, after praying
about it, we put our house on the market and lo and behold it sold in just
fourteen days. This was not surprising to us, but it was surprising to many others, including our neighbors who said that
the house wouldn’t sell, because the housing market was going into a steep decline
in late 2007 and early 2008. But, our house sold quickly for what we had asked.
We weren’t surprised, though, for God was shutting doors and opening new ones
and we were trusting in Him.
making the commitment to move to Indiana, we made a couple of trips to
Indianapolis to see if we liked the area. We also searched for and found a home
that was just perfect for us. Then, we decided to go ahead and buy the house
since my husband had received a firm five-year contract with this new company.
This contract helped to assure us that we were making the right decision in
buying a house there in the Indianapolis area and that we wouldn’t suddenly
need to move again for at least five years. The only catch was that my husband
would have to go on ahead of me and start the new job. He would go ahead and move
into our new house in Indiana, while I stayed behind to finalize the sale of
our present home and pack up the house for the movers. Even though it was a
little over a month before I could get to Indianapolis with the furniture,
everything went smoothly with the packing and moving. However, it was the
longest period of time I had ever spent away from my husband, and we really
missed each other. But, we were trusting in God that this was what He wanted us
to do. Indeed, it was exactly what God wanted us to do, but for a totally
different reason than the one that we thought He had in mind for us.
several years my husband had known the owner of company for which he was now
going to work. Although the owner was just an acquaintance friend, he had
stayed overnight at our home a couple of times when he was on one of his trips
into Missouri on business. So, we felt that we knew him a little better than
other working acquaintances of my husband’s. Moreover, for years this man had
tried to get my husband to come to work for him. So, we weren’t surprised that when
he found out that my husband was changing jobs that he would offer my husband a
job. In fact, he offered my husband the position of vice president in his company. So, early on
in my husband’s job search, the owner of this company paid to fly us to
Indianapolis, and then he and his wife “wined and dined” us, as the old saying goes, trying to
get my husband to take the job. This man and his wife really seemed to want my husband to come work for their company there in Indiana. But they also knew that it was a decision that both Gary and I needed to make, so they showed both of us the area and the advantages of accepting this position.
discussing it and praying about it, both of us believed that this was the
position that God wanted my husband to take. We were right that God wanted us to move to Indianapolis, but God just had a different reason than the one that we thought He had. So, in believing that this was where we were supposed to go there, my husband accepted the offer and we
made plans to move to Indiana. The owner of the company seemed very excited and
happy to have my husband as the new vice president of his company. However, when my
husband arrived at the company to start work there on January 2nd, he
found that the owner and his wife had left on vacation, and there was no one
there to introduce him to the staff or to show him to his office. He was
on his own without any suggestions or instructions.
would be nearly two weeks before the owner of the company was back at the business. That was
the first red flag that something was wrong. Then, things went downhill from
there. What was supposed to have been an upper management position as vice
president had, when the owner returned from vacation, suddenly become a
multitude or conglomerate of various positions, including but not limited to
the following: a data input position, a sales position, and whatever else that
needed to be done. Certainly, as a long time upper management officer or vice
president in other companies, my husband had no skills as a data input
specialist. So, he was now spending long hours learning how things needed to be
input and working long hours into the night to get the job done. This was the
second red flag.
time I talked to my husband on the phone long distance, I heard more and
more disappointment in his voice. At first I thought that his disappointment
had something to do with us being separated for so long, as we had never been
separated from each other for that amount of time since we had been married.
But then I began to suspect that all was not well at the job. To make matters
worse, my husband knew that I was excited to come live in and decorate this new
house that we had just bought, and he didn’t want to rain on my parade by
telling me negative things that were happening to him. I am sure he felt
trapped in the job. But, my husband is not a quitter and was determined to make
this job work at least for the next five years.
the furniture and I arrived over a month later. My husband had been living in
the new house with only one chair and a couple of boxes for end tables and a
bed that he had brought with him in his pick-up truck. That was all that was in
the house until our furniture arrived. He had really been roughing it. We were very
excited to see each other, but I could tell that something was on his mind.
When he finally confided in me as to what had been going on with this company,
I was in shock. But he assured me that he was determined to make this job work,
even though he was daily disappointed and hurt by how he was being treated by
this “so-called” friend. So, while he went to work, I started un-packing all
the boxes, which gave me something to do during the day.
now needed to find a church home. One of the churches that we had previously
attended while on one of our trips to look for a home in Indiana, was the
church that the owner of the company and his wife attended. They had invited us
to their church and we gone with them while visiting in town. So, on the
following Sunday after I arrived in Indiana, we decided to go back to their
church. But, when we arrived, I got a strange feeling from the owner and his
wife. They were not as friendly as before, and the owner of the company would
not look me in the eyes. Something was up.
following week, as I was still unpacking and putting things away, my husband came
home in the middle of the day and told me to quit unpacking. He said we were
going back to Missouri. I was in shock, but it seems that even though Gary had
a five-year contract, that the owner of the company was having financial
problems and that the contract was not worth the paper that it was printed on. Then,
about two weeks later, my husband was officially without a job.
we were in Indiana, with no relatives or friends, and no income coming in. What
were we going to do? Well, we prayed!
Then both of us trusted in the Lord to take care of us. We read the Bible
daily. We spent time in prayer together and separately. We also supported each
other, and when one of us started to get a little down, the other would remind
the other one that God said He would not forsake us, “… for He Himself has said, ‘I will
never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’” –
(Hebrews 13: 5b. NASB).
while my husband searched for a job and sent out hundreds of resumes, I
repacked our boxes with the things that we were going to keep; separating
them from the things that we would not be able to keep. For, if we needed to move from Indiana, we probably
would not have a company to move us like the one my husband had worked for only eight
weeks. That is because this company had originally paid over $10,000 dollars to move us to
Indianapolis. However, with the way the economy was going, most job offers
would not come with a promise to pay for our move. So, if my husband got a job
offer, we would probably have to pay for the move, and we were broke. Obviously,
the only way we could stay in Indianapolis was for my husband to get a job
offer there. Otherwise, we would be on our own for the moving expenses when we
moved back to Missouri. At every turn, we saw more and more expenses for which
there was no money. But somehow or other we always had enough money to make
when my husband finally got a job in Missouri, we sold many of our household items
and even gave away much of our furniture to the City Union Mission and to some of our more needy church members just so that we could help them out and at the same time not
have to pay to move additional items furniture. This time the cost of our move
would be paid by us, and the cost would be calculated in the size of the U-haul
truck that would be needed to move the items we had to keep.
all this ordeal, though, both of us kept our faith in God and trusted in the
fact that God said He would not let us down. Indeed, God did not let us down.
For, somehow or other, we always had the money that we needed to make ends meet.
Even though we were in a desert experience we later discovered that God had not
only been preparing a job for my husband, but He had also had been preparing my husband to
accept the perfect job for him at that time. Moreover, God had prepared this
job or position for just the right time so that we could be right where the
Lord wanted us to be.
the meantime, we put our new home up for sale by owner in a town whose real
estate agents shunned those who tried to sell their own homes. But, here again,
God provided. Although it took six months to sell the house, we or I should
say, God got it sold just in the nick of time for us.
Little did we know that when
we moved to Indiana, that the move would just be a temporary move, because God
really planned for us to be in south central Missouri. To get us to south
central Missouri, though, God had to prepare the way for the job opening and then
prepare a way for my husband to get the interview for the job opening. In the
meantime, though, God wanted to spiritually grow and mature us. He knew that we
needed to be broken and humbled before Him in order to serve Him with all our
heart. In the process, God also prepared my husband both mentally and
emotionally to be able to accept a job for nearly half of what he had been
making the last ten years. For, my husband would need to basically start all
over again and gradually build back up to the salary that he had been
previously receiving, if that was even possible. That was a very humbling
experience for a man who had already climbed the ladder of success.
Nevertheless, God has a way of not only humbling a man, but also of helping a
Christian man come to terms with what God wants him to do.
spent nearly seven months in a desert experience. However, all the preparation
in our desert time in Indiana grew both of us spiritually. We found that God
was there for us daily giving us the strength we needed to keep our eyes
focused on Him. We learned to rely on God for everything including the food we
ate and the money we needed to survive. Throughout this desert experience we
learned that God provides for those who love, obey, and live for Him. We also learned to wait on the Lord.
For, we waited nearly seven months for our house to sell when houses weren’t
selling, and nearly five months for a new career opportunity when jobs were
hard to find. But, in our waiting we also learned that God takes care of His
children. In fact, the following Psalm is one that resonated in our hearts
during our daily Bible reading.
the LORD my God, I put my trust.
I trust in You; do not
let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in
You will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous
Show me Your ways, LORD,
teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for you are God my
Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. …
Good and upright is the
LORD; therefore, He instructs sinners in His ways. He guides the humble in what
is right and teaches them His way. All
the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands
of His covenant. For the sake of your name, LORD, forgive my iniquity, though
it is great.
Who then are those who
fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose. They will
spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land.
The Lord confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare.” -- (Psalm 25: 1-5, 8-15.
our wait, we grew in trust and faith. We also learned not to harbor hate or
vengeance for the man who enticed us to Indiana. He had to know that his
business was not doing well. He had to know that it was an “iffy” situation to
put his friend acquaintance in. So, why did he not only lie about the actual
vice president position or the viability of his company when directly asked.
Did he just have his head in the sand and refuse to acknowledge the down turn
in the economy and his business, or did he deliberately get us to make that kind
of move for some other reason. We will never know, but God knows. Moreover, God
knew even before we moved to Indiana. In fact, I believe that God wanted us in
a desert experience so that we would learn to totally rely on and trust Him for
everything, which is exactly what we did. We also trusted the Lord that in our
wait, we would grow ever closer to Him and our Savior, Jesus Christ, which is
exactly what we did.
like the Israelites who had to wait forty years for their children to enter the
Promised Land, my husband and I had to wait to come back home and receive a
job. We had to wait on a job that was not yet ready for my husband. We had to
wait on the perfect job interview opportunity, and we had to wait on God so
that we could come to learn to completely trust in Him for all the things that
we needed and so much more.
Although in our English vocabulary the word “wait” often means that we are at
a standstill until some action can take place, the wait that the Psalmist
refers to is an action word. For, when we wait on the Lord, we are putting our active trust in Him to do what He
wants for our lives. We are waiting for the Lord to act. The waiting that the
Psalmist refers to in the above scripture is also waiting that looks forward
and not backward. It is an active and action waiting that gives us hope and
anticipation. For, when we are waiting on the Lord, we are expecting good
things to happen, if we are willing to put our complete trust in Him and if we are
willing to be obedient to His calling. Our waiting paid off in so many ways,
and yours will too, if you trust in and obey God.
August of 2008 my husband finally took a job in the Ozarks of Missouri after he
had heard through a friend that a job was becoming available. God was behind
the scenes working for us, because the job opening hadn’t even been posted yet.
But, God had it ready for my husband the minute that it became available. Moreover,
my husband had been prepared to humble himself to take a much lower paying job
initially in order to again move up the career ladder. But, this time, my
husband would have a true Christian as his boss. Moreover, he would be able to
express his Christianity daily and be able to share the Gospel with certain
customers who asked for his help in getting them back on some type of financial
footing again. Time and again my husband
has been able to share his faith, knowledge and the financial wisdom that he
received from our time in the desert.
the last eight years as manager, my husband has built up his branch of the
financial institution into a viable and successful branch. He also became
active in the community and has had a great influence for Christ on both the
community and the members of the financial institution. Throughout our eight
years in this community both of us have also been involved in our church. We
have worked as small group coordinators and leaders, and we presently team
teach a Sunday school class with another couple. I have also consistently held
a weekly Bible Study in our home for those who were having a hard time and for
those who just wanted to learn more about the Word of God. During our last
eight years in Missouri I have also penned a book for the Lord on Active Relational Christian Mentoring
which will be out in book stores shortly. Together and separately, my husband
and I have tried to always obey God and to shine our Christ light for others to
see. We have waited on the Lord, and both of us have mentored people who needed
to hear a Christian voice speaking into their lives or who needed help for some
specific area of their lives. My husband’s mentoring has been more in the
financial area with Christ at the center, whereas mine has been more of a
teacher mentor to other Christian ladies with Christ at the center.
time in this part of the Missouri Ozarks has been a very rewarding experience. But,
most of all we have tried to live our lives in such a way that others
can see Christ in us. We have chosen to have faith and trust in God, and He has
never let us down. He has never forsaken
us and He never will. Moreover, no matter how long your desert experience
is just remember that this desert time is a time to help you grow closer to the
Lord. It is a time to humble yourself and to ask God what it is that you can do
you are already doing something for the Lord, but that doesn’t mean that the
Lord doesn’t have something else for you to do as well. Sometimes, God will
show you your greatest path to travel, or He may even take you the long way
around instead of sending you down the shortest path. Furthermore, God may not
tell you how far you have to travel down that path to get to your destination
so that you have to completely rely on Him. But there is one thing certain: God
has specific plans for each of His children. Plans to give them a “future and a hope”. He also will not
take you into a desert experience without having a way for you to leave the
desert once you have given your complete trust to Him and put your entire faith
God is preparing you to become an Active
Relational Christian Mentor. Perhaps He is sending you to a new area to
meet someone that He knows you will be able to help. Or perhaps God has taken
you the longer route to save you from enemies and to save your spiritual soul.
Whatever route you are on, rest assured that God has a plan for your life, and
it is a good plan. You just need to make sure that your plans match up with
God’s plans by waiting on the Lord, by studying the Word, by praying, and then by
listening for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction for your life. God can
also prepare other people at the exact same time He is preparing you, and we
never know who we will meet that God has prepared to hear just what we have to
say about Him while living for Christ.
remember that you have been given a specific purpose in this life beyond your
purpose of glorifying and honoring God. Your purpose is to “love others as
yourself” and to do the work that God has prepared or is preparing you to do.
If you don’t know what your specific purpose is, pray and faithfully ask God to
show you and He will.
can do it! You can serve the Lord and live for Him!