What Is My Soul Here To Learn?

Shame. Regret. Anxiety. Fear. Impatience. Inadequacy. Unworthiness. Incompleteness.

These are emotions we have all felt at one time or another in some season of life. But, what if, even in the most destitute and barren places, God is still working and propelling us towards destiny?

Whether God places us in a wilderness or whether our own sin lands us there and He simply allows us to stay, the wilderness is not a punishment - it is a necessity. A wilderness can be a heartbreak or failed relationship, career setback, financial hardship, loss of a loved one, feeling rejected or inadequate, the delay of a dream, unexpected diagnosis, etc. The wilderness may not always be an outward manifestation of disappointment, a wilderness can be inward and invisible to others - it can be a deep longing, dissatisfaction or loneliness. It can be simply feeling lost and far away from God. But, of one thing I am certain: the wilderness is not in vain and God can redeem every second we have spent there. The wilderness is where we grow, learn, and evolve. Instead focusing on the past, “why did I end up here?”, “why did this happen to me?” or the unknown future, “will I ever make it out alive?”, we must focus on the now and ask the question “what is my soul here to learn?”

Even in a barren place, we are not called to experience fear or worry. In Matthew 6, God specifically instructs us not to worry or be anxious about anything. There is no disclaimer… it doesn’t command us not to worry about big things, or to not sweat the small stuff - it calls us to be anxious about nothing. Not only does it instruct us not to worry, but it then tells us how: by seeking first His Kingdom. When we seek the face of God, long to know His heart and His character, do life His way, the reality is that He will take care of us. No matter what it looks like in the wilderness, we must take heart and know that God is a redeemer and the more barren it seems, the greater Glory He will get from our deliverance.  

The trick of the enemy is to deceive us and make us believe the lie that we are going to die in the wilderness, but the promise of God is the opposite. In the book of John, chapter 11, when Mary and Martha, in distress, sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick, the Bible says Jesus stayed where he was until Lazarus died. He left Lazarus in His wilderness! However, Jesus let it be known in verse 4, “this sickness is not unto death. It is for the Glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” We know how the story ends. We know that at the appointed time, Jesus went and delivered Lazarus from his wilderness (raising him from the dead). We know that Jesus wept, indicating that He sympathized with the sadness that comes from being stuck in a wilderness we didn’t choose, but He allowed Lazarus to stay there long enough, so that when He raised Him there would be no question who did it and God would get the glory.

After Lazarus’ death, when Jesus finally arrived, Martha, in her limited knowledge of God’s plan remarked that had Jesus been there, Lazarus would not have died. We experience regret when we feel that we have missed out on the promises of God. We wallow in regret and despair when we allow the enemy to make us believe that we have missed our window, ran out of time, or heard God wrong. But, Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together. When we are unable to see the big picture, that is when we must trust God, even when the situation looks dead and hopeless.

So, don’t be afraid of the wilderness. Know that God is faithful and He is a deliverer. Whatever your wilderness is, be present in it, ask the necessary question: “What is my soul here to learn?” and expect God to not only deliver you, but to show you why you are there and to use it to bring Glory to His Kingdom. We must resolve to not live in regret of the past of fear of the future. When we face disappointment, we need to do some soul-searching to figure out what that experience was meant to teach us and how it is useful propel us forward and evolve us deeper. As children of the Most High God, who’s salvation has been bought, we don’t make mistakes. We learn lessons that twist and bend us in the direction of our purpose. When He brings us out of the wilderness, when the fire no longer afflicts us and we come forth as gold, we have an obligation to ask “what wisdom do my scars give me?” and then go share it with others - that’s how God gets the Glory out of our affliction and deliverance. That is what our souls are here to learn.

What have you learned in your wilderness or what are you trusting God to do when He brings you out of your barren place? Comment below! If you know someone struggling in their wilderness, please share this with them.


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