At the end of 2018 and throughout 2019, God began and has continued speaking to me about two things: the wilderness and the mountains. I had no prophetic word or even any kind of understanding what would take place in 2020, but heavenly revelation on these two subjects has been key to overcoming the onslaught of the enemy.
This year has been so out of the box and extraordinary in so many ways. Every area in our lives is having to be examined, weighed, and judged as to its level of importance. Entertainment was taken away, both public and private. The workplace was reinvented and taken away in some cases. School systems have radically changed in a short period of time. Even now, riots and protests are taking place calling for some kind of reform in governmental structures. Church life had to be reordered. Even close-knit families had to scrutinize the ways they would get together or stay apart.
Certainly, for most people this really has been a wilderness year. Struggle, pain, distress, and discomfort has permeated this year in a way that most people, especially in America, never thought possible. Though we have not been in a wilderness for 40 years, some have completely given up hope and are just praying for everything to end quickly.
This may not be an encouragement to you, but the wilderness is unavoidable. For some it is more evident that they are walking through a wilderness because of the outward results of their actions. However, for many, there is a wilderness of the mind and heart that is not so definite on the outside but is a pervasive continual struggle to walk through even normal life. Why would all these people, seemingly without a care in the world, have mental breakdowns, secret sins and struggles, or even end it all with suicide? Everyone must walk through a wilderness, seen or unseen.
And yet, even in the wilderness there is hope. The wilderness is not a place devoid of life, but filled with the struggle for life to come forth from the midst of a harsh and unforgiving environment. David speaks of walking through “the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4). The question that many people are asking every day, and especially this year is:
How do I walk through this valley? How do I get through this wilderness?
The Israelites walked through a physical wilderness where they had to literally rely on God for every provision of food, victory, and sustenance for 40 years. Only Joshua and Caleb remained alive of all the people who walked through the wilderness. These two not only survived but thrived in the wilderness and came out not only prepared but strengthened and fully equipped to take The Promised Land.
What was different about them?
How did they continue 40 years through such a hopeless situation?
Let’s look at what Caleb said as they entered into the fruitful land of promise on the other side of the wilderness.
Joshua 14:6-8 “…you know the word which the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning me and you in Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to scout the land [of Canaan], and I brought a report back to him as it was in my heart. My brothers (fellow spies) who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God completely.”
“You know the word…” This is how Caleb comes to Joshua with his tribe before all the people. Moses had spoken a word of promise from The Lord 45 years prior to this. These are literally the first words recorded from Caleb since Moses spoke this promise.
What was Caleb doing these 45 years?
What made him different from all the people that died in the wilderness?
How did Caleb transition from 40+ years of walking in the wilderness to fully stepping into The Promise and claiming his inheritance?
My encouragement to you, before we get into the how, why, and what, is:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!
The importance of this fact cannot be overemphasized. One of the main reasons people give up and fall is because they feel isolated, disconnected, and alone. It may not be encouraging to you that the wilderness is unavoidable and that everyone must walk through it, but this means that we are all in this together. Draw strength from others that have walked, are walking, and will walk through the wilderness themselves.
Even more encouraging than this is that Jesus Himself had to walk through the wilderness while he was here. He actually understands the difficulties in the body, mind, and heart that you are going through. Jesus was not alone and neither will you be if you truly come to Him.
Interestingly, Matthew 4:1, Mark 1:12, and Luke 4:1, reveal that Jesus was led into the wilderness by The Holy Spirit. This means that even Jesus was not alone in the wilderness. The Holy Spirit of God was with Him to lead Him through the harsh physical wilderness and unforgiving spiritual wasteland to the other side. After this happens, He comes out of the wilderness “…in the power of The Spirit…” (Luke 4:14).
If you plan on not just surviving in the wilderness, but thriving there and coming out the other side in power, you must continually cultivate and grow in your relationship with Holy Spirit, the One who is always with you and will never leave you or forsake you. He is leading you, walking with you, and coming behind you to make sure you do not fall in the wilderness of this world. All you need to do is call out to Jesus as Peter did, when fear of the wind and waves overcame him and threatened to drown him in the darkest depths, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30).
Jesus, I need you! Save me from falling in the middle of the wilderness of this life. Help me to walk out of this shadow of death. I know you are with me to strengthen, lead, and guide me. Help me to trust you and grow closer to you than ever before. Help me to thrive right where I am and walk with You in the power of The Spirit upon the stormy waves that try to drown me because You are always with me!!!
Here is Part 2 – The Word of Promise!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!