At the beginning of the year I was needing to make an important decision about how to move on with a life issue. I had become stuck. When praying about it, an image was impressed upon me, a sort of time line of the journey of the Israelites – from Egypt – through the wilderness – to Canaan, along with the words ‘switch provider’.
Money experts today advise us to save money by switching energy provider. Instead of switching to a more cost- effective energy provider, we often stay with the same, more costly provider, simply because it’s familiar, it’s what we’re used to and because it requires less effort to stay than to change.
The Israelites spent forty years trying to learn much the same lesson. They never really ever learned to make the switch. Stuck in the wilderness, ever wandering round and around in circles but never really fully learning to trust in God’s promise of provision, they hankered after what they had left behind in Egypt or defaulted back to their idols when the going got tough.
I got the connection. Many of us have spent years trying to find a way out of our own personal wilderness, caught in an endless cycle of wandering around the same mountain, trying the same broken cisterns. There is only one way out and that is leaning on the beloved, not on our own understanding, but on Jesus, the One who is the way to the Father. Leaning speaks of dependence, of a full weight of trust, and knowing who the source of our provision truly is.
The wilderness is a time of learning to transition from independence to dependence, from ‘orphanness’ to sonship, a time of letting go, making a switch, or shift, in the focus of our trust. What or who is the focus of our trust in – a secure job, a pension plan, an inheritance, a health plan, a relationship? - All legitimate means of provision, but they are fallible.
‘My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19). Until we switch the focus of our trust for provision to the One who has promised to supply all our needs, and know who the source of our provision truly is, we will be like the Israelites, ever wandering around the same mountain employing ‘orphan’ ways to meet our own needs. We will only truly emerge from the wilderness when we learn to lean, walking, not as an orphan, but as a son, step by step with the Beloved Son, walking as He walked, leaning, in full dependence on the Father. It is here we find our promised rest.
Prayer: Father, we thank You for Your great heart of love that longs to lavish provision on us. We acknowledge our lack of trust in Your provision at times. Help us to see the things in our lives that we are depending on instead of You, and help us to switch the focus of our trust to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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