Community in Action September 24, 2020

Last Sunday I mentioned the words consolation and desolation. I mentioned that sometimes our life journey takes us into a time of desolation, like walking in the wilderness. The question is not how do you get out of the wilderness, but what can you learn from the time you are walking in that wilderness.

    The question is not why are we walking in the wilderness, but how best do we walk in the wilderness. It is during that walk in the wilderness we may find God’s consolation for us. In fact I usually say during a memorial service that we can’t really understand or know “joy” until we have experienced “sorrow.”

    The saying “you don’t know what you have until it is gone” can be so true, because of all that we take for granted. So that means we need to be ready to discover that which brings us joy in the midst of our sorrow. This also means we need to embrace the consolation God brings us when we are in the midst of desolation.

    Wilderness walking is not easy. Wilderness walking for Jesus I am sure happened more than once. The only walk Jesus made labeled as a wilderness walk was right after his baptism. But don’t you think he must have been walking in the wilderness when he learned that Lazarus, one of his best friends, was dying. In John 11 Jesus learns of his sick friend, but he chooses not to run to him immediately, instead he waits a couple of days before he turns his attention, and walking, toward the home of Lazarus.

    He says in verse 4, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son maybe be glorified through it.” Of course the disciples have no idea what he is talking about so he continues his walk in the wilderness by himself.

    There is another time when Jesus asks who do people say he is? Peter comes up with the right answer, but then when Jesus talks about his impending death, Peter rebukes him. Jesus is sharing his heart about a difficult time, about a time when he will walk in the wilderness again and Peter does not offer to come along side, but instead says he won’t let it happen.

    Peter can not accept the desolation which Jesus is suggesting will happen. Yet, the greatest consolation will come, but only after Jesus experiences this coming desolation. The better approach would be to ask Jesus, Lord how can I walk in the wilderness with you.

    God is forming your character as you walk through the wilderness at various times in your life. As you walk your faith is strengthen. As that faith is strengthen so you will receive the consolation which God has for you.

    There will always be consolation for us, but we will have to walk the wilderness, we will have to experience the desolation before we can receive the consolation. Our question to God is not so much why is this happening to me, but instead Lord, how can I best respond to this time in the wilderness?

    So know that the walk in the wilderness, the period of desolation, will not last forever. Not only will it end, but you will grow spiritually and will receive the best ever consolation, a consolation from the almighty God.

    Blessings as we walk together,

    Pastor Randy

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