Wilderness Tests – God’s Care
The other morning after nine hours of sleep, I woke up emotionally spent. In my dream, I constantly yelled at everyone around me. They weren’t listening, and I was beyond frustrated. Despite how loud I yelled, they remained unfazed with my concerns and needs (probably because I was being very obnoxious).
When I woke up, I was exhausted from all that yelling. I rarely yell, so I’m not use to it. It’s draining! Does that happen to you – not the yelling part 🙂 – but waking up and feeling the residue of the emotions you had in your dream? I do. Every time it fascinates me how real our dreams are to our bodies.
My dreams often unveil the depths of my subconscious. In them, I face fears, un-dealt with emotions, and desires.
This dream revealed a question deep in my soul, which on a conscious level I didn’t question because I knew the answer – does God truly care for me? In the past, I’ve struggled with this issue because of experiences in my childhood, and often we transfer our childhood experiences with others to God. . .
In my younger years, I often felt that others didn’t care about me; that my concerns and needs didn’t matter. Looking back, I recognize the experiences in childhood that lead to this ill-belief. It’s a very painful thought to own, even some of the time. The reality was people did care, but at certain times my reality was they didn’t. Therefore, sometimes when situations aren’t going as expected, the enemy plays on my past and I question if God really cares for me . . . am I worth caring for?
Sometime ago when those old emotions started to arise, God said very clearly, I care. At His words, a smile danced across my face and my soul was at peace. At that moment, I knew God cared very deeply for me. It was a powerful moment I’ll never forget. Now, I know I only question His care when the raw unfiltered emotions of a child, who wasn’t processing reality correctly, are being triggered. It’s wise to understand why we feel what we do, because most of the negativity comes from past experiences where we didn’t process our emotions correctly.
But because of my past – this “caring” issue is tender in my soul. . .
The reason this dream came up is because of where I’m at right now. I’m going through a wilderness trial. The trial’s purpose is to test my trust in God in the areas that are the hardest for me, and to test how firmly I will stand on His truth when it’s challenged. In these trials, there is a combination of giants (seemingly tough situations) and lies. In the trial, because it’s challenging by nature, we can get weak and vulnerable and that is when our internal enemy strikes with lies.
The only real weapon this enemy has is lies. They aren’t very powerful unless we believe the lies as truth, then they become incredibly powerful. We are attacked in our thoughts in those areas that are vulnerable, for example, God’s care for us. Yet, if we reject the lies, hold onto the truth, then we can stand unwavering. When we truly trust God, then that is ultimate freedom. In this freedom is where He wants to be, thus the testing. God wants us to know without a doubt who He is and who He is to us and that is why we have these tests.
These tests aren’t for God to know my heart because He already knows it, but for me to know. I feel I’m going through this trial at this time because God has taught me so much and is preparing me for His plans that lay ahead. I need to know where I stand. I need to know that my trust is truly in Him and nothing else. It’s like in school where you are given exams to test what you’ve learned before you move onto the next level. These wilderness tests often include being presented with giants as well as lies that reflect issues close to our hearts. Our response to them is everything, because our beliefs reflected in our response are everything.
We can know God’s truth in our head. But do we know it in our heats – where it matters? When characteristics of God are related to a painful past, it can make deeply believing in His promises more difficult. For example, as a child if we are neglected, abused, or abandoned, then it can be difficult to trust that God will always be there, He’ll never leave, and He truly loves and cares.
I thought I knew that He cared for me. But going through this wilderness trial, I sometimes feel Jesus is asleep in the boat while I’m in the middle of the storm. Why is He sleeping, doesn’t He care? In part that is the nature of the trial – in the silence of His voice or actions do we still believe in His promises? Deep down I started to question – doesn’t He care? Why don’t I see His deliverance? If He cared wouldn’t He deliver me now? My internal enemy was trying to plant seeds exploiting issues of the past. Believing God cares is essential, because then we can truly trust Him. I needed to know He always deeply cares therefore it’s put to the test. . . was I going to give into the lies or stand firm on His truth?
I chose to stand on His promises and silence the pounding lies.
A thought, a lie, comes into our minds, and if we are equipped with the truth and connected to God, then we can kill it. If we don’t have the truth and aren’t connected, our minds will feed that lie, it will grow, we’ll act on it, and create havoc in our emotions and lives. In the wilderness, Jesus quickly dispelled the lies presented to Him. Jesus KNEW the truth. It was His truth, so He stood firm.
In preparation for this wilderness trial, God told me 1. to keep my focus on Him 2. Hold onto the truth 3. Be ready for certain lies that pertain to areas close to my heart. He forewarned me that I would be challenged in what I’ve learned. If we are listening, God will warn us – yet even with the warning it still can be a challenge because it hits our most vulnerable spots – that is why it’s a test.
If we do hold onto the truth, our trust and faith grow immensely. The truth is our shield, we are to cling to it and not give lies a foothold in our thoughts. Yet, even if we do start to fall, His mercy is more than enough to carry us through.
June 14, 2010 at 7:07 pm
Hey preacher lady, I dumped my fb account but wanted to stay friends….didnt want you to think I had deleted you. I have a new email address. Im going to link your blog if that is OK.
I have the most exciting, unusual, vivid dream life ever……..and many times I dream of things and they happen. Also, I have had some reoccurring dreams…..seems like I have the same dreams almost every night for years. Maybe its my meds.
Anyhow, I still want to experience a BB game in NC
June 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm
Hi John – thanks for the email. I definitely want to stay connected. And yes please do link to my blog . . . You should share some of those dreams on your blog 🙂
June 15, 2010 at 1:28 am
At times like this Rachel, great comfort can be found in Isaiah 50:10. It’s my experience right now.
Also, the Holy Spirit often prompts me to meditate on the Blood of Jesus. When I do so, I see how subtle the enemy has been in tempting me to devalue IT.
June 15, 2010 at 4:13 pm
Hi Roger — Thank you for your encouragement – it means so much. And thanks for sharing that verse, and what a good insight about the enemy devaluing what we’ve been given in Christ – when you think about it he attempts to devalue just about everything. I actually feel very encouraged . . . I know this is a time of preparation . . . though in ways my life seems to be on standstill – I’m hearing God’s instruction and counsel each day. Its amazing that I could even doubt His care – given how I sense His presence but the enemy can get us so focused on certain things that we lose sight of the big picture. Fear is blinding.
June 15, 2010 at 7:33 pm
Rachel, you guys are beginning to scare me. This is the third post today on being tested by trials. Only I just asked God whether He meant to do that to me and He said “I am doing it to you. Just thought you needed a little encouragement.”
God is so funny. I love Him.
Love you, too!
June 16, 2010 at 3:35 pm
Hi Cindy . . . interesting about this being the third post on trials . . . Just last night, my husband and I were talking about how so many are facing trials and in relation to what you see happening around us in the world – perhaps it is a testing of who is truly of God and who isn’t. Our faith reveals our hearts. Our faith is blantantly exposed in trials. When you are being tested it is usually about who do you really trust – God or man. And it definitely is revealing where my trust really is. It reminds me of when the Israelites were headed into the promise land – there was a testing of their faith as they entered in. God is so perfect in His ways – and I can see that perfection in this trial. He has been revealing and teaching me so much during this time I can hardly keep up! Thanks for all your encouragement – it means so much and I do feel encouraged – but it is constant clinging to the truth and ignoring the lies of the enemy 🙂
June 15, 2010 at 10:34 pm
Wonderful post. Often when one speaks for God it is like crying in the wilderness. One may feel alone, but God is always there. We all need peace, yet there is fear when we feel abandoned. Love is all we need. We must continue to give it in all that we do in the name of Jesus. Let us continue to pray and stay in the word of God. Great post.
June 16, 2010 at 3:35 pm
Dr. Lee – thanks for sharing such encouraging words!
June 16, 2010 at 3:14 am
Rachel, thanks for your poignant, authentic, and beautiful writing. It really spoke to my spirit. Have you ever heard Matt Redman’s song, “You Never Let Go?” That’s what this post reminded me of: the truth of Psalm 23: that Our Shepherd is with us every step of life’s journey: on the mountain top, and in the valley of the shadow of death.
June 16, 2010 at 3:38 pm
Hi Steve, I haven’t heard it . . . I’ll check it out. I’ve been thinking about that Psalm a lot . . .have you read the book – “A shepherd’s look at Psalm 23” by Philip Keller? It is an extremely encouraging book on that Psalm. He breaks down each verse from the Shepherd’s perspective. Thanks for stopping by!
June 17, 2010 at 4:31 am
Your vulnerability touched me. Without revealing too many details, you related with the humanness we all struggle with at times. I draw comfort from knowing we follow a Lord who cried out, “My God, my God, why hast though forsaken me?”
This makes me think about the befuddling nature of doubt. The mind may know the truth but the heart still cries out like an abandoned child. I respect you more for your willingness to be so real. That is true spirituality!
June 17, 2010 at 3:55 pm
Hi JoDee . . how you said “The mind may know the truth but the heart still cries out like an abandoned child” – is very well spoken. Thanks so much for your comment.
June 18, 2010 at 2:27 am
hey I was able to resolves some issues and fot back on FB and still await my tickets
June 18, 2010 at 3:47 pm
John – glad to hear it 🙂
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June 25, 2010 at 10:06 am
What a wonderful “real” post that not only I but others needed to hear. I felt like the post was written just for me! janie
June 25, 2010 at 4:05 pm
Hi Janie – Hope all is going well with you – thanks for your comment – its a great encouragement to me.
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October 13, 2013 at 7:16 am
Thank you Rachel for availing yourself for God’s amazing work in the world..I am blessed by your post.
All my life I have been a dreamer, I dream people i don’t know and before I knew the Lord I dreamed terrifying dreams, from dark skinned short people with evil grins, snakes, cats etc.
After I gave my life to Christ, I still struggled, I believe it was because I knew half the truth, so I still practiced sin, though my conscience reminded me this time and again. I had just had a boyfriend, and this are the dreams I had:
1. I saw a baby abandoned wrapped in a white blanket, and everyone passed this baby and they were all walking towards the same direction;forward, I stopped and stirred, the child transformed into a pitch black shiny, dwarfed old man and laughed mockingly at me, I woke up
2. I was at a wedding party with my family and boyfriend was present as well, I found myself busy, preoccupied but I don’t know with what exactly, I wasted so much time and people already ate. I went to the serving place, but dogs appeared from nowhere and ate all the food left in the serving bowls, I asked a share from family and they had none reserved for me, lastly I went to the boyfriend and he had none as well, I woke up feeling sad…
I also used to dream flying, fleeing from the enemy, and often times it would be snakes, a lot of them, many, I also dreamed walking in the dessert, very thirsty and exhausted, and crystal clear water formed out of a single drop.
I and that boyfriend broke up eventually, after very painful experiences, betrayals and abuse.
I desire to walk with God, with all my heart with all my soul, but right now I am not very sure I can hear His voice, I feel like He is very far from me, I feel unsure.
Please your counsel Rachel, thank you so much for your time…
October 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm
Hi, our dreams can often reveal deep emotional realities, to us, that we sometimes don’t acknowledge in our conscious mind. Those emotional realities are shaped by our interpretations of past experiences. I wrote a bit about our past this week … check it out it may help, the post is “A Free Mind is a Hopeful Reality”. Then let me know.
September 18, 2019 at 2:24 am
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