While most of you reading this blog most likely live and work in close proximity to, if not in the middle of, a small or large thriving city, we are all subject to the wilderness experience. I’m talking about those times when, despite the crowds, office buildings and facilities that surround us, we go through a desert period – a period, perhaps, of great loss, no direction and/or seemingly very little support. Have you been there?
I have. And I’ll tell you right now, it’s not a fun time, but it is a time of tremendous growth if you can just hang in there with God.
At one point in my career, I chose to make a transition out of technology, where I had been for 15 years. I had a good idea of what I wanted to do. I just had no idea how to get there. It was during that time, everything around me fell apart. Seriously.
It was the first time in my life I went without a job for three months. It was the first time I literally didn’t know how or if I could pay my bills. At the age of 40, I had to take a job that really didn’t fit me at all (I was selling commercial security systems – huh?). This period lasted nine years as I went from one job to the next, got fired unjustly (the only time in my life), and moved halfway across the country – twice. To add injury to insult, my son’s father moved to Arkansas (where?) and my son joined him two years later per our divorce agreement, leaving 1,100 miles between the two of us.
That was a really rough time. Thankfully, I was on a much more aggressive trajectory in my faith journey at the same time. God knew what was coming and He put resources in my path that drew me closer to Him. And I accepted.
When I realized God wanted me to move to Arkansas, I knew no one and had no idea what jobs would be available. It may as well have been the wilderness for me. As I look back on that time, six years after moving here, I can see how God used each experience to lead me to where I am today. My life is richer, more abundant and fulfilling, than anything I could have imagined possible. Really!
If you’re going through a wilderness period in your life – whether you’re in between jobs, in a job that just doesn’t feel right, or going through a transition that seems hard and confusing – here are a few Scriptures I highly recommend owning to move through it with power, joy and peace:
- Jeremiah 29:11 “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
- Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
- Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
- Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’”
- Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
- Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Of course, there are many more. What Scriptures do you most lean on for strength and inspiration?