Just like Israel rest assured when in the wilderness you will encounter conflict and hostility. This is the time to remember we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities and the rulers of darkness of this age (Ephesians 6: 12). When we encounter such hostilities these battles are only to be fought in obedience to God. As I have mentioned in previous posts this wilderness experience is intimate and extremely personal and those looking from the outside will feel compelled to assess your situation.
The journey truly has it’s peaks of fragility of mind therefore I learned to say to myself, “I can’t trust people since they don’t know what is in my heart, I can’t trust myself since I don’t know what’s in my heart, but I can trust the LORD and HIS WORD since HE alone knows what is in my heart.
Looking back to the beginning of my wanderings I have had many good intentioned people whom I love play the role of Job’s friends. Once you have had several close encounters with a “Job’s friend” your ears and heart learn to recognize them, it sounds like this:
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Be that as it may, Job (Jeannette) I beg of you to hear what I have to say and give heed to all my words.
Behold, here I am with open mouth; here is my tongue talking.
My words shall express the uprightness of my heart, and my lips shall speak what they know with utter sincerity.
[It is] the Spirit of God that made me [which has stirred me up], and the breath of the Almighty that gives me life [which inspires me].
Answer me now, if you can; set your words in order before me; take your stand.
Behold, I am toward God and before Him even as you are; I also am formed out of the clay [though I speak with abnormal wisdom because of a divine illumination].
7 See my terror [for I am only a fellow mortal, not God]; I shall not make you afraid, neither shall my pressure be heavy upon you.
Did you notice how many I’s, my’s and me’s are in these verses? This is the first warning you are having an encounter with a Job’s friend.
By no means, am I implying I am perfect or that during this whole experience I reacted to every conflict in the most appropriate fashion. I am simply trying to share some of the lessons I learned during this time of testing.
What I want to emphasize is that we must allow the Holy Spirit to do His work. Why is it that we find ourselves compelled to play the role of Holy Spirit? Believe me, from someone who has gone through a God administered wilderness HE is more than capable of doing the job.
Dr. RT Kendall wrote in his book Total Forgiveness when you speak to another person ask yourself if what you have to say will meet their need.
Necessary- Is it necessary to say this?
Encourage- Will this encourage?
Edify- Will it make them stronger?
Dignify-Will it dignify that person?
Even if what we have to say is true, it does not necessarily mean we have to say it. We may not realize what we intend for healing may cause harm.
When conflict comes knocking at the door of our hearts we can either decide to take on the banner of offense or walk in forgiveness. Forgiveness is an act of the will and it does not come easy but offenses carry their own punishments.
We don’t realize how much self reigns in our hearts until these times of testing. It all goes back to the fact that the wilderness experience is God’s process to humble us so that we may know what is in our hearts. As we humble ourselves before the Lord peace appears in the wilderness like an oasis in the desert.
PS: The external circumstances may not change but these testings are a matter of the heart, so don’t be discouraged and weary of soul.