The Wilderness Mindset
A caravan crosses the hot, open desert. A woman walks alone, tired and dry. Her heart and spirit are empty. The humidity fills her lungs as she breathes in the sticky, warm air; her body longs to sit and rest. Her mind wanders to far away places, anything to remove herself from this weary procession. Her imagination fails to conjure images, happy reminiscences or good times. Dreams are all but a memory. Her hope had faded years ago, like the sand under feet as the miles stretch from camp to camp. There were no more tears to cry, no more hope to give life to the emptiness in her womb. Sarah looked across the wilderness; nothing, just like her empty heart.
Have you ever felt spiritually dry? Have you ever experienced the constant search for peace or a word from the Lord, but nothing seemed to ease this void? I have “wandered” myself in the “wilderness”. The wilderness can seem dry, vacant, joyless and depressing. Your heart and spirit long for spiritual wisdom, comfort and security to get you through to the other side; I’ve heard many say this is “God’s waiting room”. A preacher I like to listen to once taught the “dry season” as a season of planting. You may be thinking, I’ve been “a plant’n” a long time! The key to this season is to not give up, keep sowing those seeds, and patiently wait on the Lord.
Sarah was childless. I watched a movie once regarding the life of Abraham and Sarah. Barbara Hershey portrays the matriarch and during one of the opening scenes, a baby is delivered. Sarah, I am sure, witnessed many births, was probably there to support and act as a midwife for the baby. When the child was born, one of the midwives exclaimed, “It’s a girl!” This exhausted and fatigued new mother looked over in disgust and said, “I don’t want a girl.” She rolled over on her side, her body language screaming repugnance. The scene continues with Sarah quietly standing, gently taking the baby in to her arms and a wail escapes her mouth. Her cries and groans to God of frustration, anger, sadness, mourning and weariness encompass this display of travail. All eyes look on in embarrassment and shame as the new mother turns over realizing her insensitive remark, arms open to take the baby more joyfully after witnessing Sarah’s agony. This scene was powerful, for your own heart knew and could feel the pain of her empty womb.
In the wilderness, this season of planting and sowing, is where you learn patience, trust and contentment. Patience to wait on the perfect timing of the Lord, trusting God he is there and has never left, believing the Lord will give you the contentment in all things while you wait. During this season of my life, I studied, prayed, fasted, and sought God’s wisdom. I had never been through a time such as this where I did not understand what was happening. I tithe, I pray, I worship, I believe, I know God hears, but nothing is happening. It felt as if I was walking through quick sand everyday. Years had gone by and I did not understand WHY I still sat so alone in the wilderness. Sarah did not understand why she could not have a baby. To encourage you, God’s ways are not our ways; his thoughts not our thoughts. This woman had no idea that on the other side of that desert was laughter. She did not understand joy was just around the corner. Sarah could not perceive the will of God to perform a miracle inside of her own lifeless body and through her a great nation would be born. She was “stuck” in the wilderness mindset.
The wilderness mindset can leave you trapped, confused, wandering and perplexed.
At times you know exactly why you may feel hopeless and lost. I talked to God during these times honestly and transparently sharing my feelings. I mean, he already knows them anyway, so why not get honest in your prayers. I remember praying, “I don’t want to be in this season anymore. I don’t want to grumble, complain or pretend I know best, but Lord, you will have to show me how to wait patiently and trust you.”
Do you tithe and have yet to receive a harvest? Do you work hard, your boss reaping the benefits while you sit in disbelief? Do you pray for a sick relative and they only seem to get worse? Have you prayed for friends and God has yet to bring a godly Christian companion to lean on? Or, are you in prayer for a spouse, waiting patiently, a bridesmaid at your girlfriends’ weddings and no particular person has set foot in your life? Each of these instances were a season for either myself, Tommy, a family member or a friend of mine.
God has a plan.
Maybe our finite minds would be unable to comprehend the preparation if it was laid out before us. If the Lord had shown me what would happen to me in the first five to eight years of my walk with him, I am not sure I would have been able to handle it. I have cried more in the last decade than the first part of my whole life! The pruning process, the expelling of worldly views, the forgiveness of those who tore my heart apart, the prayers and fasting for God’s plan for Tommy, and the consistent training of my children has been challenging to say the least. But, the day Tommy, Nicholas and Maddie were baptized, I as Abraham laughed. All those prayers, all the days of fasting were answered. I know God hears my prayers, just as he hears yours.
One last comment to note before we pray, in the dry season, we may be tempted to fulfill our destiny by trying to hurry God’s plan along. Remember Sarah and Hagar? Sarah attempted to “hurry” God’s plan along and we can see the disastrous effects from that. Jealousy, anger, bitterness, taunting and provoking all played out daily in this family’s life. Wait on the Lord. Do not rush out before the “perfect” timing as you may regret your decision. I attempted to step out and have a small group for teaching and training women, but it was more “work” and I was not ready for the task at hand. I was not prepared in my knowledge of the Bible, in my family life at home or in my prayer life as a believer. Do not stop planting those seeds (Galatians 6:9). “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Remember, the end of a matter is better than the beginning (Ecclesiastes 6:8). Laughter is on the other side if we do not give up. While you wait, remember the words of Christ, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gently and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Pray the Prayer for Waiting on God on our Prayer for Every Circumstance Page. You can find the full teaching under our Resource Page, One a Day; 30 Days of Prayer with the Women of the Bible, Book 1