All of us have seasons of life that we view as wasted years. If you do not, hang on. It will happen. We experience these seasons for different reasons. Sometimes we are running from God. Other times we are relying on our own abilities. Then there are times when we simply do not care about God or His plan for our lives. No matter what lands us in a difficult season, we do not have to stay in that place. God is a redeeming God. He brings meaning out of the messes that we create.
The children of Israel knew about living during a difficult season of life. They had been enslaved in Egypt and forced to do hard labor. God called Moses to return to Egypt and boldly approach Pharaoh with this simple message, "Let my people go." After some convincing, Pharaoh complied.
God had a special plan for the Israelites. It was a good plan. They were His chosen people. When other nations looked at Israel, it was God's desire for them to see a noticeable difference. The difference was God and His presence among the people.
Many years before the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, God promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit the Promised Land. This land was designed to be a place of rest. It was a good place flowing with milk and honey.
The plan was simple. The Israelites would leave Egypt under Moses' leadership. They would travel through the desert and along the way God would teach them how to live as a nation. Twelve spies would go into the Promised Land with the instruction to survey the greatness of the land. Here is an important point: the land was already theirs. They did not have to earn it or buy it, and they certainly did not deserve it. That's the thing about the "land" God has for us. It is a gift from Him.
Unfortunately, the wheels came off the bus. When the twelve spies went into the Promised Land, they judged the land based on THEIR ability to possess it rather than on GOD'S ability to provide it. This led to big trouble in the Israelite camp. The outcome was forty more years of wandering in the desert.
I have to admit that I love the Israelites and I can relate to their story. The desert wandering that I have done has resulted from the same equation. I always end up in a desert when I judge God's plan based on MY ability to possess it rather than on GOD'S ability to provide it. When I do this, I take my eyes off of the Lord and put my eyes on myself.
The good news is this. God is a gracious God. The original generation died in the desert and God raised up a new generation to enter the Promised Land. God was faithful to teach the Israelites every step of the way.
We can be assured that the same principal applies today. God is faithful. He uses our desert wandering experiences to teach us lessons that refine us. He reminds us that we are His. In the end, He sets us back on the path that He created for us. I, for one, can testify to the truth that we cannot out run the grace of God. Believe me. I tried!
How about you? Are you in a difficult season of life that is a result of your poor choices? If so, take heart. God has a plan. He loves you. Right now you can take an important step. You can be honest with yourself and with God. Confess your need for Jesus and ask God to lead you every step of the way.