“God did not leave you in the desert to aimlessly wander in circles.”
In the middle of our desert seasons, our wandering, it is so hard to believe this truth. It is hard to see anything outside our immediate vicinity, let alone a grand purpose.
Eventually, we may be lucky enough to reflect on heartbreak, loss, financial struggles, rejection, etc. and see the purpose. Or maybe we don’t. Maybe we will never understand the ways in which God is working until we meet Him face to face. No matter which category we fall into, we have God’s infallible word to reinforce His goodness, purpose, and grand plan among our suffering.
The entire Bible is a beautiful depiction of God’s ultimate plan for restoration and salvation. We see his goodness within individual experiences, as well as overall. Here are three of my favorite stories of wandering and waiting.
⁃ In Joshua 6:1-21, we see God instruct His people to March around the city for six days. One time each day, for five days. Then, seven times on the final day. This probably seemed tedious and was most definitely tiring. But, there was purpose. There was purpose in the circles. And, on the sixth day, the walls of Jericho came crashing down. Unfortunately, the Lord doesn’t tell us an exact timeline for our “walking around in circles” like He did here. However, just as He told His people of their expected end, fallen walls of Jericho, He tells us of ours, His kingdom. Our expected end is perfection in Heaven. Everything we endure in this life is nothing compared to the hope of Heaven.
⁃ In Genesis 7:10 we read, “And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.” Not only did Noah wait years on the rain while he was working on the Ark, but once he was instructed to enter- he had to wait 7 more days. I know 7 days doesn’t sound like a lot after 55-75 years of Ark building. But just imagine- you wait 55+ years on God’s direction, you faithfully follow, and then *boom* you feel as if He hit pause… How many times have you been in a situation where you put your timeline above God’s? I’ve been there many times. I’ve said, “if X doesn’t happen by February 22 at 7:15 pm, then I’m giving up and moving on to the next thing.” But we miss so much that way. What if Noah would have said, “If it doesn’t start raining within 24 hours, I’m getting out…” I for one am glad he practiced patience and trusted the Lord. You, too, will be thankful you practice patience and trust the Lord. Not only is He working things for your good, but He is saving you from so much bad!
⁃ In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah begs and pleads with the Lord for a child. Actually, she’s been begging and pleading for a while. However, she is a wonderful example of how to wait gracefully. Even in her lowest moments, she remains graceful with her actions. Also, in her waiting, she continually asks God for a miracle. We can do that, too. Yes, we should wait patiently, gracefully, and with open arms. But, the Bible never tells us to wait stagnantly. We can wait patiently while asking God to move in big ways- if He sees fit. We can have faith in His great power, just like Hannah. And, when He answers our prayers (whether it is how we expect or not), we can dedicate our lives and blessings to benefit His kingdom (another beautiful thing we see in Hannah’s story).
I hope you’ll hold these close to your heart and mind. I hope in the midst of your sufferings, maybe in reflection upon your sufferings, you’ll know the same God who orchestrated these events is the same God in control of your situation. The same God who worked intentionally to produce maximum goodness and glory, is working to produce the same in you.