North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    A soldier once shared with me a wilderness journey he experienced in life. One in which he found a way through and God provided for him. I met him on a military assignment in a southern state. He had been deployed several years earlier and was now preparing for another one. He explained during his first deployment his wife was unfaithful with his so-called best friend. He cried all night; for days. After a week of this he decided to pray about it. He would cry and pray; pray and cry and this routine continued for a week. On the seventh day he developed a peace that he could not explain. When he returned home from his deployment, his wife left him. While the divorce papers were being processed through the court, she asked him, “Aren’t you going to try and get revenge?” To her surprise, he said, “No, I have to pay for my sins and you have to pay for yours.”    He went on to tell me, “God blessed me with another wife, a better wife, and if that wasn’t enough, He blessed be with two kids. I am very happy now.”

    I said, “Brother, you went through the wilderness, but managed to survive. Many people would have gotten lost in that circumstance and given up.”

    “Well, I knew I had to keep living. In life, to get where you need to go, you have to run sometimes and walk at other times. It’s what you do to get the thrill of living!”

    Sometimes life takes us down a pathway into the wilderness and we look around one day and ask ourselves how did I get here? Why am I here? Many, many years ago that very thing happened to Elijah. 1 Kings 17:2-7 says, “Then the Lord said to Elijah, go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you. For I have commanded them to bring you food. So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening and he drank from the brook. But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land.”

    Despite the wilderness circumstances, God wants all of us to enjoy life through Him. Resentment, unforgiveness, and hate stop the flow of God’s supply to you. You need to be filled with His Spirit every day. We must want God, seek God, pursue God and trust Him to provide for our needs!

    On one of my visits to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina I wanted to survey the little town I was staying in. So, I started to drive and noticed a road sign that said: “Road to No Where”. It’s a sad place to be, but we all pass by there sooner or later. That’s when we turn over our battles to the Lord. 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 reads, “This is what the Lord says, Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march out against your enemies (your struggles). You will find them coming up through the wilderness. Take your positions; watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!”

    It seems only when our wisdmon and strength fail are we willing to turn the problem over to Him. Instead of giving way to despair, it’s our privilege and right to go to God at the outset in the midst of our difficulties, as well as in all conditions. What a comfort it is to know that God is at our side in fair weather or in the storms.

    It’s a delight for God to fellowship with us no matter how difficult the path or how rugged the wilderness becomes. It’s our surrender and reliance upon Him in the midst of the trial that He is seeking from us. Don’t waste the wilderness, but use it as Elijah did when he was there. There are four things to do when you find yourself feeling alone because of your troubles: 1) Learn to recognize the provisions of God. God can and will provide for your needs (Philippians 4:19); 2) Appreciate God’s blessings. Give thanks for God and all that He has done for you in the past (Psalm 126:3); 3) Make good use of what God gives you. It may not be in the form you thought, but God knows best what you need (Philippians 2:13); 4) Embrace where God places you. Everything has a season and a purpose, so make the most of your opportunities, no matter where He leads you (1 Corinthians 7:17).

    Blessings rarely drive us to God; it’s usually crisis that do it. It’s when the crises of life are reached that our Lord shows Himself “a mighty present help”. The experience of darkness, of prayers seemingly unanswered, of sin which seems triumphant, and affliction; these are the channels through which we often times learn how truly great our God is! As long as you allow the Spirit to be active and alive in your life, you can do something about your problems. Don’t waste the wilderness, but let God lead you through it and onward to victory!

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a health educator for the state of Florida, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. He recently published his 4th Volume in the “Living With Purpose” Book series which can be found and purchased on www. Amazon.com. You can contact him at: rmdobson@liberty.edu.

 

Posted by on Jul 22 2018. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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