A guide in the wilderness

As you may have noticed, I didn’t post on my blog last week. No, I wasn’t sick or on vacation. I didn’t forget, and I wasn’t too busy to write.

I intentionally chose not to write.

Here’s why:

One thing I’ve continuously stated throughout my writings is that the purpose of this blog is to serve others. I believed that God placed the task of blogging on my heart; and as terrified as I was to begin blogging, I’ve felt God’s peace throughout this journey.

Having said that, I pray each week about what I believe God desires for me to write. Some topics have pushed me out of my comfort zone, while other posts have left me utterly vulnerable as I shared my imperfections and struggles. Yet, no matter how challenging the topic, I would feel God’s peace as I wrote.

God also taught me not to seek the approval of man, as I learned through one post in particular. I was so focused on what I thought others wanted to hear, that I lost focus of what God wanted me to write. I quickly learned from that.

So when I didn’t feel called to write last week, I was surprised. Not because of the fact that I didn’t have anything to write about, as being too lengthy in my writing tends to be my greatest struggle.

What surprised me was the peace I found in not writing. As much as I wanted to write, it would have been of my own works. Rather than trusting God’s faithfulness and guidance, I would be leaning on my own understanding and abilities.

This past week, my thoughts continuously returned to Exodus 13-14. In this passage, the Israelites had left Egypt and were preparing to enter the wilderness. Two aspects of this stood out to me in particular.

First, God was a literal guide for them. “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people” (Exodus 13: 21-22).

The Israelites had to trust in God and His leadership, even when it might not have made sense to them. In some cases, God led the Israelites to move; in others, God told them to stop. They choose to submit themselves to God’s leadership and plan. Although the Israelites had many instances of disobedience and lack of faith in God during their 40-year detour (granted, they had brought it upon themselves), this was their first step of obedience in following God upon leaving Egypt.

For me, this meant surrendering the desires I had for writing a post last week. Regardless of whether my motives for writing had been selfish or out of genuine service, I had to choose not to step outside God’s will. I needed to pray a prayer similar to David’s: “teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:10).

Second, God was present with them. As the Israelites escaped Egypt, God didn’t send angels or use other things to guide His children. Rather, God was with them. As I quoted a few paragraphs back, “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” In the emotions of joy, fear, and anticipation they must have felt for their futures, God was there to guide them.

Choosing not to write last week allowed me to turn my eyes to God and spend time in communion with Him. I had the opportunity to focus on my relationship with Him. Above all, it allowed me much-needed rest and encouragement I had so desperately needed. As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve been under immense spiritual warfare — and to be honest, it’s the most I’ve ever encountered in my life. I’ve felt utterly drained and discouraged, but this time of focused communion with God has helped strengthen me. It has helped me remember God’s promises and truths, and that I am never alone.

I pray for those of you who are reading this, that you will faithfully follow God in what He has called you to do. I pray that when He moves, that you won’t hesitate to follow. I pray that when God says “wait”, that you will stay steadfast and unmoving.

I also pray that you will seek time for communion with God. Share with Him your praises and adorations, your joys, your thankfulness, your fears, and your requests.

May we be a generation that finds ourselves fully submitted to the will of God. If we do this, we will find that we have a guide in the wilderness that we call life.

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