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.