“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them He was hungry” (Luke 4:1-2).
Can you pinpoint the beginning of your chronic illness journey? I think all of us have a time that a diagnosis has made a life changing impact on our life, sending us into a wilderness journey. So why does God send us there? Why must we continue to go back at times?
If we look at the scriptures we see even our Savior was led into the wilderness, and then began His ministry (Matthew 4:17). So I asked myself, what can I learn from His wilderness journey?
We can learn . . .
1. That the hunger within our souls can only be filled with the Bread of Life our Father gives (Matthew 4:4, The Word)
2. Not to test God, but to allow Him to be in control, to direct our lives, in every way–even if that means illness or pain may touch our lives, because His plan is perfect (Matthew 4:6-7).
3. To worship and serve God only–not man, not our illness, riches, or other; to focus on Him, allowing Him to be the center of our world (Matthew 4:8-10).
4. To refresh and strengthen our Spirit for ministry. Jesus left the wilderness full of the Spirit ready to begin the ministry God had purposed for Him (Luke 4:14).
Jesus spent time in the wilderness as preparation for the singularly, most important purpose anyone could ever have–to bring Salvation to a lost and broken world.
Chronic illness is not an enjoyable journey. At times we are in the wilderness, feeling so alone and struggling, but lf we look to Jesus, we are able to learn from Him and from His Word.
Gather strength and refreshment. Then, when we walk out of the wilderness with Him, we can move forward–strengthened, focused, and prepared. We can know God is in control, leading the way to our next adventure with Him.
Prayer: Father, sometimes the wilderness is so overwhelming, but we know, Lord, You are there. You understand all that we are enduring. We thank You that You have shown us how to walk through it and that we can learn from You. Help us, Lord, to be refreshed and strengthened by Your Word and Holy Spirit. When we walk out together, Lord, let us be wiser and willing to obediently serve You in whatever ministry You have prepared us for. Amen.
About the author:
Diane Kalata, lives in Central Florida, she is blessed to have three grown children, and a wonderful husband, who is also her caregiver in illness. She is a cancer survivor; continuing to deal with chronic pancreatic and digestive issues as well as neuropathic pain, and fatigue. She loves art and writing. Her desire is to continually be an encouragement to others; looking daily for those “God opportunities” to share His love and truth with others.
What are some of the Wilderness experiences God has taken you through? How has God strengthened you through those experiences? What ministry did God lead you to as a result of a wilderness journey?
It can feel so lonely when we are out there wandering around in the desert land, but this song, “Reach” with Peter Furler and featuring Phil Joel, is a great reminder that He never leaves our side–in fact, He is reaching out to us at all times. Hope it blesses you. -Lisa