WHAT HARDSHIP TEACHES

On my visit to the Holy Land we took a two-mile hike into the Wilderness. Well, one of the wildernesses, there are twenty different ones in the land of the Bible. This Wilderness near Beersheba is where Hagar wandered after being sent away by Sarah and Elijah fled to escape Queen Jezebel. The Wilderness is sometimes thought of as desert yet it is more than just sandy wastelands it is also barren and rocky. We climbed up rocks, looked over cliffs and experienced the dry conditions firsthand. It was a tough hike for twenty first century tourists, for ancient people it was much worse.

The Wilderness is a picture for us of hardship and suffering. We all go through Wilderness experiences in our walk with God. Some don’t want to accept the Wilderness they only want blessings but that is an unrealistic faith. Jesus experienced suffering, the early Church experienced suffering, believers throughout history have experienced suffering and we will to. The question is what can the Wilderness teach us? How can our Wilderness experience result in spiritual growth?

The Wilderness teaches us humility. When we are enjoying success humility is not our greatest virtue. Spend a season in the Wilderness and humility can be discovered. A time with lack of resources, few measurable results, relational troubles and health challenges can humble almost anyone. Jesus teaches us to humble ourselves but that is not always easy to do, the Wilderness experience can do it to us like nothing else.

The Wilderness teaches us community. The harshness of the elements requires help from others to survive. No one could make it in the Wilderness for any significant length of time without assistance. God has called us to be a family, a body, a flock that relies on each other. Learning to love and support each other through difficult times is our calling. Since everyone goes through Wilderness experiences we either need support and encouragement or we offer support and encouragement.

The Wilderness teaches us trust. When we are facing hardship, disappointment and pain we can be shaken to our very core. At those moments we either trust in God’s plan or forfeit our faith. In the Wilderness we come to the point where we realize there is no other help but from God. If we are going to make it then God must provide He alone must sustain us. No one welcomes the Wilderness experience but if we can learn what it teaches we can have greater growth in our spiritual life.

 


About Rick McDaniel

Rick McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator and church leader. He is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. The church is known for its contemporary and innovative services and has a worldwide reach through www.highimpactchurch.tv. McDaniel has earned three degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University and is the author of​ six​​ books including his latest "Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." He has traveled and spoken at conferences and churches worldwide spanning six continents.

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