This morning, Lord, I can't get one particular friend, out of my mind. She's been a Christian since she was a teenager. She's well educated and experienced in her career. But this past year she has been receiving a whole new kind of education from you, Lord. She's been in the wilderness.
I remember the wilderness. The Children of Israel spent 40 years satisfying your requirements for graduation from the wilderness. I don't remember exactly how many years I spent there myself. But I do remember wandering around in spiritual circles, covering the same principles over and over in my wilderness experience.
I'm a really slow learner, aren't I, Lord?
I'm so proud of my friend. I think she's almost on the path that leads out of the wilderness. I see such growth and changes in her in recent months, Lord. Help her not to get side-tracked, not to back-pedal, and wind up on the back side of the mountain again. Show her your way out of this wilderness time in her life.
Ken Gire says that seminary prepared him to use the gifts you had given him, but the wilderness prepared him to live his life as a Christian. My wilderness wanderings did the same for me. They prepared me to live moment by moment, breath by breath, depending solely on you. Not my church, not my husband, not my children, not my friends, not my career, not even myself. Wandering in that parched wilderness not only made me hungry and thirsty, it proved to me that you alone can satisfy that hunger and thirst that claws at my soul. You proved to me personally that I, personally, can trust you, personally, to meet every need I will ever have.
I can see my friend is learning her wilderness lessons. When she comes out of this desert she's going to be such a beautiful, godly woman. A woman who has spent "quality" time with you, Lord. She'll be ready for the wide, green pasture you've prepared for her. And she'll never again be that same old person she was.
The desert is different for each person who passes through it. The sands drift and blow so that an area never looks exactly the same way twice. Similarly, I customize the wilderness for each one of my precious children who passes through it. It's an individualized education in who you are and who I AM in your life. No cutting classes, no Cliff notes, no CLEP tests for those who want to become like Jesus. Just a long, hard, dry way through the wilderness.
But it's worth it, isn't it?