I think I’m tired.
It’s not the kind of tired that comes from too-little sleep (although I’m sure I’m off-the-charts deficient). It’s the tired of kind.
It’s an exhaustion that comes from trying and failing…praying and waiting…working and yet still not measuring up. It’s a tired that leaves me feeling all used up. The kind that steals my joy and makes loving and serving my family feel like a burden.
Can you relate?
This is the kind of tired that comes from being in the wilderness and not being content with the provisions I’ve been given. That’s pretty much where I am right now. Like the Israelites who were led out of Egypt, I feel like I’m hiking through the wilderness. And, unfortunately, I’m not enjoying it any more than they did.
Wandering in the Wilderness
The wilderness really isn’t a fun place to be. It’s a place where I hunger and thirst, often for good and noble things, yet I am left feeling empty…and dry…and alone. In this spiritual wilderness, God seems absent – or at least silent – and the feelings of desperation and doubt threaten to overwhelm.
But God is not absent. He may be almost silent, but He hasn’t left me alone. He brought me to this place, and it wasn’t so He could just desert me or so I would shrivel up. It wasn’t so He could leave me alone. I have to remind myself of that. A lot.
God brought me here to give me what I needed…Himself.
Feeding on Manna
God has given me a provision that I haven’t wanted, but it’s all I have in this wilderness. It’s all I need. “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna…that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Basically, I want a steak dinner. I want God to work obvious miracles in difficult situations and to give me great joy and fulfillment.
He has chosen, instead, to give me manna. I have been forced to feed on “every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” and simply trust. I’m not good at trusting God when he’s silent. I like to see God’s hand at work. When I can’t see, I begin to worry, and complain, and doubt. It isn’t pretty.
The Israelites had to trust God for their food every single day. They couldn’t store it up to ensure they would always have what they wanted and needed. For forty years, they had no choice but to believe that the Lord would not leave them alone and hungry. Forty years is a long time.
I honestly don’t know how long I’ll be wandering here, but I know God has a purpose in it all. Even when my emotions and my sinful heart won’t let me rest in Him, I know in my head that God does have a purpose in leading me to this wilderness. Like His purpose in giving manna to the Israelites, He has likely brought me to this place that He might humble me and that He might test me, to do me good in the end (Deuteronomy 8:16).
Have you ever wandered in the wilderness? Are there any verses that were especially refreshing? Please share!