The Greatest Victory

THE SUN HOT ON MY SHOULDERS, I glanced ahead. All I could see was more uphill terrain, more chances to trip and fall. I blinked away the dust in my eyes. I knew how I got here. Knowing how didn’t help. Where was the ending? When would I get out of this desert?

Our focus is wrong. We find ourselves in the wilderness, in a most difficult place, and see only what we’re lacking. We fixate on the heat, on the dryness, on how hungry and tired we are. We count the miles we’ve traveled and those stretching out ahead. We mourn the oasis which quickly vanishes on the horizon and feel only the ache in our feet, the stitch in our side, the throb in our temples. Our glass is forever half empty and sure never again to be full.

I get this. Believe me. Yet the word of the Lord came to John the Baptizer in the wilderness. He heard the Spirit speaking clearly and knew what to preach to draw men to repentance. Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness, where He was ministered to by angels and emerged full of the power of God. The children of Israel gathered manna from heaven in the wilderness. Over their forty years of travel, their clothes didn’t tatter, and their shoes didn’t wear out. While they were in the wilderness, water came from the rock; this act symbolic of Christ.

It is in the wilderness where we gain our greatest strength, often because there is no other option. Jesus becomes our only focus, our only point of view. He becomes the point of escape God wants Him to be, the door out of the wilderness, the door into the pasture, and the source of living water which flows from the throne of God.

The Spirit spoke these words to me, "Out of your belly shall flow living water NOT the voice of the enemy." What are we listening to? What do we see? There are times we are swayed by what we see, what we hear, or what we feel. We may buy a pie from our favorite place because we see the advertisement. We can't taste it, but man, it looks good. Faith asks us to look solely at God, and our relationship with Him gives us our point of view. We see Him as good, as loving and kind, as a generous Father.

We look to Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Although our physical eyes can't see what He has prepared for us, although we can only hear our mental strain, although our bodies hurt and have become weary, God says we are healed. God says we are, in fact, victorious over the enemy.

From the wilderness, that dry place, comes the greatest victory. Whereas the enemy would have us see only the circumstance, the fruitlessness of what we are facing, he wants to be the only voice speaking, we listen, instead, to the living water, bubbling up from within. We listen to the words of the Holy Spirit. We hear the truth of the Word of God.

It’s a deliberate choice. We choose to praise and worship. We choose to keep the Word of God in our ears. We choose to see Jesus resurrected and crowned King everywhere we go. Who is on the throne of our heart? The enemy would put himself there. We would put our sorrows there. But on the throne seated with Christ are God’s Davids. The place for the enemy is as a footstool beneath our feet.

Stop trying to make yourself fit into the wilderness and stop struggling to figure the timing out. Survival isn't reliant on you. The Sower sows the Word on the wayside, not so that it is consumed by the birds and, sigh, He is obligated to, although He knows it won't work. No, He intends the hard soil to become good ground, fruitful ground, so that He can reap the harvest. He sowed the Seed where there were stones, so that the work of the Spirit of God in our hearts can become deep-rooted. He would change us from soil too rocky, a mountainside, or too sloppy with muck and mire down in the valley, into ground fit for the life of the King to show Himself strong therein.

He intends to be seen in every landscape, on every terrain, and not one of them, not even the driest and hottest of places, is too hard for Him to become fruitful. From the Dead Sea, He can bring life. From the wilderness, He can and will pick roses.

Suzanne D. Williams, Author