The Christian Church has run into obstacles throughout history. There were times when everything looked like it was falling apart. From Adam and Eve’s rebellion to Elijah’s cry of hopelessness to the resistant ears and hearts of God’s people throughout the ages, sometimes even the most faithful wondered if the church would crumble.
Jesus told us that even the gates of hell will not prevail against the advance of His Church. We rejoice in His promise, but sometimes our knees get wobbly and our hearts grow unsure. In some ways, these inaugural years of the twenty-first century seem to bring us to that challenging place. Will new generations walk in faith? Will cultural gyrations push the church aside? Will the church’s lethargy render itself irrelevant?
People react to the times and seasons in different ways. Some become quiet and withdraw. Others want to compromise the church’s faith and confession. Some become angry and afraid. But God has always used the wilderness for His advantage. He brought His newly freed people into the wilderness to show them His miraculous faithfulness and to disciple them. He called people to repentance in the wilderness. He made the wilderness a place of restoration for His Son, Jesus, and a place of salvation for all who trust in Him. In Revelation chapter 12, God brought the church into the wilderness to care for it and protect it.
As we wander through wilderness times, we are called not to be afraid, timid, angry, or faithless. We are called to listen and to pray and to learn. We’re called to receive the love of Christ and to share it boldly and generously. In every era, followers of Christ who faithfully endured persecution, trial, doubt and uncertainty, were brought into a new land at some point. With restored souls, reconditioned minds, and strengthened hearts, they were sent into a new season with a new mission to bring the old, old story to the world.
May we walk through the wilderness in such a way.