Fresh air and the start of a new adventure have a few things in common. When the fresh air hits you, one of the first things you do is breathe in deeply. The air hits your face and then your lungs, and you can taste the fresh potential the moment you walk out your door.
But then you realize you don’t have a lot of control over this fresh air. It could get hot and muggy, and the humidity might make it difficult to breathe. It might turn too cold, warning you rain is coming. And you realize this excitement over a new day might not last.
No matter how old you are, the terror of broken expectations can still wrap its fingers around the hope that comes with new beginnings and adventures. Do you remember the excitement of starting a new school year? Or a new job? The excitement was crisp and fresh, your sense of adventure rising with new goals to accomplish and new relationships to form.
Why, then, does it often seem as if these feelings slip away when the adventure isn’t what we thought it would be? Like fresh air quickly turning thick with humidity, the excitement we once felt over the fresh air turns into complaining and frustration over the present.
Suddenly, it’s easy to compare ourselves to Israel, wandering in the desert 40 years. Didn’t God promise us a new beginning when we trusted Him? Wasn’t our journey in faith supposed to take us to the next exciting step in life?
You may feel like a wanderer. Each day, you continue to journey, expecting and hoping you will soon experience the fulfillment of God’s promise to you.
Then the next step comes, and it’s difficult, it’s risky, it’s not what you expected. And even in the midst of the excitement of simply moving forward, you grow anxious and frustrated that God isn’t leading you the way you thought He would.
Or He tells you to stay right where you are, and the period of no movement at all creates insecurities as you watch others move.
Thinking about Israel wandering in the desert for 40 years, it’s easy to grow frustrated reading about their lack of faith, their complaining, their sinning out of impatience. We could easily think, “Why couldn’t they just be thankful that God led them out of slavery? Did the miracles they witnessed mean nothing to them? Did God’s promise mean nothing to them?”
An aimless journey or purposeful course?
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to wander is to “move about without a fixed course, aim or goal. To go idly about.”
You might compare your life to a wandering Israelite, but your journey with Christ is no more of an aimless journey than Israel’s journey. Just like God leading Israel each step of the way, He is leading you if you choose to follow.
Even in the weeks or years when God seems silent, He provides all you need for your temporary rest in the journey. Whenever Israel stopped for a time, it was at a specific place selected by God. And they had everything they needed for that stay, whether it was for a few days or a few months. He wasn’t moving them without a fixed course or goal.
And He’s not moving you without a goal in mind. He’s protecting you, preparing you and strengthening you before the next move.
Believing that truth can encourage you to remain faithful to Christ. Your life is not an aimless journey. God is preparing you for what’s next. But it’s your choice to spend the journey frustrated and impatient, or hopeful and obedient.
So breathe deep without the fear of broken expectations. Our expectations only break and spill around our feet because we haven’t set our eyes on Jesus. When we look to Him, our lives will not always feel like a breath of fresh air, but we will have confidence that our movements and our moments of stillness are not in vain.
Let’s Talk About It: In what ways do you feel as if you’re wandering? How can you find encouragement?