I read a thought today about how God leads us through the process of personal growth in our lives. There are three words which God seems to operate within when working and establishing us as the people we were made to be.
They are “out, through and in”. He has applied the same pattern of “out, through, and in” for generations, and it’s repeatedly illustrated in the bible through the lives of such people as Abraham, Joseph and David. (Van Moody)
If we examine the account of the Israelites in Egypt we can see the pattern demonstrated again. They were brought “OUT” of slavery in Egypt, led “THROUGH” the wilderness and “IN to” the Promised Land.
God still uses the same process for us today. Egypt is often symbolic of any type of bondage, hardship or limitation in our life. God calls us “out” of these situations because he has blessing, release and restoration on His mind for us. But it is a process, and the quicker we “get on board” with the process of growth the faster we will develop and move through it.
We often think, “Great now that I’m “out” of that uncomfortable or negative situation I can walk straight into my “promised land”. However the Israelites were first led “through” the wilderness before they entered into the land God had prepared for them. (Exodus 13-15)
Sadly however we can be just like the Israelites who grumbled and complained, and sought to go back to Egypt rather than trust God in the midst of their wilderness experience. We can doubt God’s goodness towards us, and start to think that things were better and more fun back where we’ve come from. No one likes the wilderness moments, where we are proved, refined, and more often than not have to wait for God to reveal and release His next move and plan. Given the choice we would probably all opt out of our wilderness experiences, and go straight to the Promised Land.
“The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the LORD’S hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16:3)
But it is in the wilderness that our characters are forged, and refined. It is in the wilderness that we discover whether we are prepared to trust and obey God’s leading and way of doing things. It is in the wilderness where we find ourselves, and where we discover what we really believe; it is where our faith and patience is strengthened and given some “muscle”. We want a quick overnight process, but it is our willingness to listen, obey and be led that shortens or lengthens our wilderness time frame. We can definitely hold things up by our attitude and stubbornness; by our unwillingness to let go of the things of “Egypt and our past”. Just look at the Israelites who ended up spending 40years in the wilderness, before entering into the Promised Land.
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands”. (Deuteronomy 8:2)
Today, whatever situation and circumstance you find yourself in, know that God has a plan to bring you “out, through and in”. Trust Him, and consider your attitude today, for it is always the willing, and the obedient that have the best of the land. Learn from those who have gone before and choose to humble yourself, so as to allow God to lead and guide you. It’s a much quicker journey!
“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land”. (Isaiah 1:19)
Prayer: Lord, help me to be willing and obedient, and to follow the process you have to bring me into my “promised land”. Please help me to be quick to listen; quick to obey and that I will trust you so that I don’t hold up the process of growth you are working out in my life. And so I don’t end up wandering around and around the wilderness needlessly. In Jesus name Amen.