Praise In The Wilderness
by Celita Perillo
In one of my recent devotional sessions with my kids we were reading about John the Baptist, and how he spent his time IN the wilderness. (Wearing animal skins and eating locusts.) That’s where he learned, grew, and was nurtured by God.
Um, wilderness, people. WILDERNESS. Maybe it was desert-like? Or maybe it was wild land with danger and few comforts? Whatever the case may be, I don’t know ANYONE who likes life desert times or struggling, but I was struck by the BEAUTY of the concept that God KEPT him.
God knows exactly how to nurture us in our dry, thirsty, starving, hurting times. Just like He did for Elijah when he was DOWN in a deep bout of dark depression.
I find it extremely awesome, comforting, and relieving how God ministered to Elijah—with his basic needs of food and water, compassion, and TIME. He allowed Elijah TIME to recover, to get back to health, to gain strength. And, because He IS the same yesterday, today, and forever, we can have the confidence to know He will do the same for us.
If you’re struggling, trust in, cling to, rely on, and believe in Jesus. He’s always faithful. He’s never late. Though sometimes we might feel like He is.
Just remember John the Baptist’s amazing birth story. His parents wanted children for a LONG time, and basically gave up hope that they would ever have any kids. The Bible clearly states that Zechariah, who was very old, was doing his job as a priest, when the angel appeared to him to tell him they were going to have a baby. VERY OLD! Not slightly old. VERY old.
When I read that, I wondered WHY God waited to provide their answered prayer, but then, it hit me. Because of JESUS’s coming and the role John would play in it!
Guys, the Lord waited to provide their miracle baby for that time because He wanted Elizabeth and Mary to be pregnant TOGETHER, for John to leap in His mother’s womb at the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb.
He wanted these cousins to work together for one common purpose. John was the “Voice in the wilderness who would proclaim the Messiah’s coming.” And that Messiah was, IS, Jesus.
They KNEW one another. They were family, but they were also co-workers. John would have the purpose to prepare people for Jesus’ coming, and Jesus would fulfill the prophecies spoken about Him from so many years before.
There was a deeper and more fulfulling plan. So, while we (as I am sure Zechariah and Elizabeth also did) may wonder at God’s timing, we can marvel at how it’s really perfectly organized for a purpose.
Lately, I have been reminded over and over of this scene from the movie Facing the Giants. While it refers to a sports team, it’s very much for our individual lives, as well.
“I want God to bless this team so much that people talk about what He did. But it means we got to give Him our best in every area. If we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise Him. Either way, we honor Him with our actions and our attitudes. So I'm asking you: what are you living for? I've resolved to give God everything I've got. Then I'll leave the results up to Him. I want to know if you'll join me?”
Dear Jesus, help us to live surrendered to You, to praise you in the winnings AND the losings, in the good times AND in the bad times. We need Your help, Your boldness, Your courage to do so. Help us to acknowledge if there is any sin, hidden or not, which we need to repent of. Reveal it to us, Lord. We need Your deliverance, Your healing, Your direction, Your sustaining and nurturing. We desire to see You working and moving in our lives, homes, families, and jobs. We desire to see and experience Your glory and revival poured out over us, over those we love, and throughout this country we love. Hear us, Lord. Amen.
About the Author
Celita Perillo is a 40-something wife and mother of five living in Southern Italy. Her goals are to never stop learning, draw ever nearer to Jesus, and be intentional in counting blessings; encouraging, edifying, and sharing God’s love to others.
A smile and kind word go a long way. While she has many verses that mean a lot to her, she considers Colossians 3: 17, 23 her life verses.
You can read Celita’s “Sunday Inspiration” column on the 4th Sunday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.