when god first showed me that I was in a season of wilderness, I had merely thought that I would be spiritually dry.
but oh, how I was so wrong.
the wilderness encompasses so much more—
for when Jesus was taken to the wilderness, he was alone; there he was tempted and tried-his season of all the possible temptations. it was there were he battled, took his sword of the spirit and shield of faith to ward off satan’s lies and temptations. it was in the wilderness where he became refined, where he learned obedience. it was also after he underwent his trial in which he emerged full time into hid calling and into his ministry of openly preaching, teaching, performing miracles, and proclaiming that he was the Son of God to all men.
This season for me is more of a wilderness than I realized. for I am overwhelmed with temptations that I had never knew existed inside of me. suddenly the desires for worldly pleasures has crept into my heart, seeped in ever so slightly and poisonously that I wasn’t aware of it until I started to fall into it. a lie had entered my mind... I wanted to sin, to even fall into extreme sins so that I could understand more fully the depth of my depravity and the magnitude of God’s sacrifice and grace. I wanted to be that ex-druggie or that ex-prostitute who was radically saved by Christ and who experienced God’s grace in a way that was unimaginable. There was one time this desire took hold of me so strongly that I wanted to hurt myself... please bear with me.
I don’t really know what to say or how to even explain what is going on. I am speechless. I don’t even know if i should be writing this on my blog, but I want to be open and vulnerable. but I will try to articulate these scattered and indescrible thoughts with as much clarity as I can...so heres my story. For the past 3 weeks I felt like I was walking in a cloud of darkness. I felt as if I had lost my satisfaction from god. His presence felt void in my life. Depression was looming over me—and because my relationship with god wasn’t right, nothing else was right. I had no joy... I didn’t even feel like I was living. I felt dead.
Bizarre thoughts would enter into my mind, and I would give way for these thoughts to take root. For a time I would constantly try to fight. At night I would battle certain temptations and wrong mindsets that I knew the enemy was seeping into my mind. other nights I would be too tired to fight—all I wanted to do was to ignore the reality of my problems and these newfound desires that started to take hold. I found myself worn out and weary of being in constant battle, not knowing fully how to use my sword. I began to question god—Lord, are you truly the best thing this world has to offer? Lord, are you truly the greatest satisfaction? Is knowing you truly the greatest joy? Truthfully, at times i didnt care about God, what He felt when I would choose not to pray or couldnt read the word. other times i would even ask God if i could go my own way, to see what life was like on the other side for a while and then come back to him. I was so cold.
being in the wilderness—is also a season of loneliness. in the wilderness, everything is the same dry, flat plain stretched out miles and miles on end. with a ground-view, from a human perspective, it seems impossible to see past the vast dessert of sandless nothing. I think for a while now ive been feeling like my life is the same...normal, routine. not that its bad for life to be a flat ground. but for me... I realized that it is quite unbearable, to be in this state of flatness, of dryness. it would be better if I went through extreme suffering so that god could show me his extreme glory. honestly, I do prefer the valleys and the mountains in my life, for those are the times I cling onto Christ harder, with more determination. I think maybe even this desire to experiment with extreme sin came from a loathing of normalcy, of passive consistency.
Today during bible study as I was reading Revelations, the passage where god tells the angel to write to the church of Laodecia, I realized the condition of my heart. I was lukewarm. it had never really occurred to me... but I realized—Luke-warmness is ultimately not being completely content in god. God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him. I began to realize the true condition of my passivity, and my desire to find satisfaction outside of god, to experiment with different and new things.
And I was sharing with my discipler, telling her that,
for me, to suffer is to be lukewarm, to not care of God’s love.
Because... in my eyes, it would not matter so much if I were to undergo physical affliction, torture or persecution if I was madly and deeply in love with god. Nothing that I could go through would matter because God would be my only passion, and that love would burn away everything else. What does suffering matter when one is deeply in love?
But when one is lukewarm... all of a sudden even the slightest problem in one’s life seems like a bigger giant.
and I came to the horrible conclusion...
that for the first time in my walk with jesus, I actually felt how it was like to be lukewarm. as I began to reminisce and tell my discipler how in love with god I used to be, I began to tear because I realized how cold and calloused my heart had become. How my once beating, pulsing, living heart of flesh has changed to a cold, unfeeling, unpenatrable stone. Last year whenever I would hear the gospel it would move me so deeply to tears. But now, I merely acknowledge what Christ did on the cross, no longer fully convicted by his love. Back then, my only only truly only desire was to know Him more. I wanted to share with everyone that crossed my path the love of God that transformed me inside and out. All I wanted to do was be intimate with God, and I desperately wanted everyone I knew to have the opportunity to experience the greatest love in the entire realm of history. jesus was EVERYTHING to me. he was my greatest desire, and nothing, truly nothing mattered more. I was ready to take this precious gospel with me unto death.
sadly, I cannot fully say... that god is my greatest desire. I want him to be. what has become of me? Sometimes when I pray, “lord I want to know you more, I want to be with you” –it is because I want a desire to hunger for god, I want a desire to want to be with Him. But is this a prayer that is truly from my heart? Do I truly desire more of him, or do I just know that i should have more of him, which compels me to pray this prayer? I am realizing more and more the true conditions of my heart. I feel so disobedient, so unworthy, far from him. I have lost my child-like youthful innocence and simplicity. I have become tainted with the experiences of life, tainted with my disbelief, with lies--so hardened, oh so hardened.
How should I end this?
Well, all I can say is that I am glad that when God rebukes the church in Laodecia(Rev 3), he doesn’t merely leave them nakedly exposed in the wretched condition that they are. He doesn’t just rebuke them for their hardened hearts, for their deceived minds and their self-indulgence and self-dependence. No.... he extends an offering of intimacy to them—
“I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he will eat with me.“
Here God shows us that HE is the one knocking on the doors of the hardened believer/ lukewarm heart. HE is the one who is pursuing them for a deeper relationship. And if we open the door, if we give Jesus permission to come into our hearts, he will then come and eat with us, and we with him (a place of intimacy where what we have is Jesus’ and what He has is ours, a place where things are shared). The lukewarm believer need not remain in this condition if he were to just open his heart!
After giving this invitation, God furthermore extends a promise—
“ He who overcomes, I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame and sat down beside My Father on His throne.”
I think I am slowly coming out of this dryness. But how long I shall be in the wilderness, I am not sure. In this time of darkness, I want to cling on more firmly to God’s promises and truths. I do not want the spirit of disbelief to reside in me any longer, but I want the holy spirit to shine upon the word and illuminate these truths to me, so that I can cleave onto God’s promises and believe with all my heart that God will see me through, and that He is faithful to help me overcome.
please... brothers and sisters if any of you are reading this, please intercede. thank you so much for sharing my burdens with me.