The God of the Wilderness

Hubert and Giovanna GomezBY: GIOVANNA GOMEZ

EMAIL: giohub@gmail.com

BIBLE TEXT: Philippians 3:12-14 (The Message): “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”  

PERSONAL REFLECTIONIn Sunday School rooms all across America, when children (and adults alike) are asked where God was leading His people out of Egypt they will more than likely respond, “to the Promised Land.”  While the Israelites eventually arrived at the Promised Land that was not the initial goal.  In Exodus 7:15 the instructions that God gave Moses were to go to Pharaoh, confront him on the bank of the Nile, and say to him, “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness.”

The initial goal:  The Wilderness — a place that was hot and dusty and with zero good restaurants, yet God’s initial plan was for His people to go there to worship Him. The Wilderness was uncomfortable and after a week, 2 weeks, a month, 2 years without moving forward… well, can you imagine?

Here’s the thing about that wilderness and any other uncomfortable, terrible, horrible, frightening wilderness: when everything is stripped away and all you are left with is yourself, you will either run to God or clench your fist at Him. Your choice in the matter is what truly matters. While God was more interested in gaining His people’s full hearts and minds in the wilderness, the Israelites were interested in something else. He wanted relationship. The Israelites didn’t understand that because they didn’t know their God.  As John Bevere puts it in his book, Good or God? Why Good Without God Isn’t Enough, the Israelites wanted the promise more than the Promiser. (And yes, that’s a plug for this book. It’s the best book I’ve read in 2016. Get it now and read it.)

We don’t want to miss God. I know I don’t. He wants my heart and yours. WOW. What could possibly be more wonderful than that? What a privilege!!

“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek Him the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.”   – St. Augustine of Hippo

PRAYER:  Holy Spirit, don’t ever let me forget what matters. Help my eyes to see and my ears to hear despite all the distractions. In Jesus Name.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Giovanna has been blissfully married to Hubert for 28 years. They are parents to Andrew, who is married to Evelyn, and to Rachel who is a senior in college. They have been partners with Life Assembly since 2005. Giovanna is a social worker – a profession she loves. While Giovanna has already decided her new year’s resolution, she has not yet bought one Christmas present. She enjoys laughter, gardening, eating tasty food at restaurants with friends, and taking walks with Rocky — a Black Mouth Cur that her daughter rescued from the pound.

 

 

 

 

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