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Devotional: Where is God in the Wilderness?

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Isaiah 43:19

See I am doing a new thing. I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 

What can we learn from the wilderness? Its uncontrollable elements, or the unknown dangers. The bears, the loneliness, the rivers, getting lost. What can we learn from the wilderness?

The fear had been swarming our minds for months now. More snow than the last 20 years. 500 people waiting at Kennedy Meadows waiting for the snow to melt. Rangers saying if you go in, you will die.

I remember deciding with a small group of others to go back into the Sierra to continue our walk from Mexico to Canada. I would be lying if I said these warnings weren't echoing in the back of my mind as I hoisted on my backpack. But there is always something to learn in the wilderness. 

The restless night before heading out I read this Scripture on my phone. He is making a way in the wilderness. This wilderness is a place of trusting and learning. Not a wasteland that is completely useless. It is not a place where I will give up but will learn to push forward. 

In that moment, hitching back to the trail. I didn't know what God had in store for me. Did I believe there was a way to do this? Did I believe God knew where I was and what I was doing? Did he know the path I was going to take? Not at all.

So many times I didn't want to continue. I didn't want to be in the wilderness. It wasn't fun anymore. The work was hard and I had lost hope. The benefits stopped outweighing the cost. 

This is where God was moving. He was making a way. He was making a way in my heart and my actions. How I operated in the everyday and how I interact with others. 

Why was I in the wilderness?

Isaiah, a few chapters before explains it like this.   (Isaiah 41:40)

that they may see and know,
    may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
    the Holy One of Israel has created it.

We made it out of that section and it was quite the adventure. But the journey didn't end when the rivers calmed or the snow disappeared. It didn't even end at the terminus in Canada months after. We are all still on this journey to see and experience this new thing that God is doing. 

I ask again, what can we learn from the wilderness? Its uncontrollable elements, or the unknown dangers. The bears, the loneliness, the rivers, getting lost. What can we learn from the wilderness?