Look What God Has Done

Look at what God has done–
He has given me a son.

Look at what God has done–
      He has given my son oxygen.

Look at what God has done–
      He has delivered Caleb from the evil one.

Look at what God has done–
      He is the Strong and Might One.
He is the Ancient of Days, the very present One.

The Lord contends with those that contend with me.
He will save my children.

The Lord plants my son by the waters.
The Lord pours His Spirit out upon my son.
The Lord is my Son’s strength.

Look at what God has done–
He has given me a son.

In recent weeks I faced a struggle feeding my son. While toddler feeding battles are nothing new, for us it is particularly hard given our history. In some way or another I have struggled on and off to feed my only child since his first hour of birth starting with the inability to nurse correctly due to his undetected tongue tie. This has been traumatic for both of us, with feeding, breathing and swallowing difficulties that seem to manifest in so many different ways. An extreme sensitivity to textures, flavors and to the experience of the spoon or the cup is common in tongue tied toddlers. For me the trauma of everything we have been through creates an emotional tangle and a world of weariness that is hard to get out of when I face yet another fight in determination for my son to continue to thrive which is in accordance to God’s will. To continue to eat and to drink. Something so simple can become so hard.

Sometime during the twilight of this battle I heard or I read the verse in Psalms “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The desire of my heart was for my son to eat and for his gut to be healed with GAPS so he can eat all the foods God has given to him to be blessed by and to eat in abundance without fear or trauma. I have to admit I have spent a lot more time raging at how something that should be so simple as eating has been so hard and how it stole the what was supposed to be a delightful newborn away from me and so forth…When Lazarus died Jesus wept. Even though He had known Lazarus would die and He knew Lazarus would raise from the dead He still wept. He wept as He saw Mary and Martha weep. The brokenness of death. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this in the beginning. The curses we live under, including death, they create sorrow, they create anger and rage because they aren’t supposed to be that way. We know when something is wrong. When it isn’t right. However, God has convicted me that anger and vengeance belong to the Lord. I suspect that God is angry too every time a newborn baby struggles to breathe or to eat because of a tongue tie. Every time a mother becomes trapped in a swirling vortex of a screaming, projectile vomiting, sleep deprived nightmare this is not good, this is not a blessing, this is not from God. When my little one was about 6 weeks old is when I realized this was not from God and I sought deliverance versus just trying to cling to Him to get me through. There is a difference between enduring and escaping. Jesus was trapped on the cross so we could be set free, by His stripes we are healed. He became a victim so we could have victory. When I “woke up” to the need for deliverance versus endurance is when God revealed to me that my baby was not sleeping because he was hungry and that he was hungry because he was cutting off my milk supply. God provided the special needs bottle that Caleb needed to thrive. But the anger, the vengeance. They belong to God. Judgement belongs to God. When I take the anger into my own hands and rage at my situation then I become guilty because righteous anger and judgement belong to God. He alone I feel can “rage” in perfect love and perfect judgement.

Anyway, I need to spend more time delighting myself in God. No matter what. No matter how the day went. I am to delight myself in God. Well I finally spent time delighting myself in God after two weeks of struggling to just try to get my now toddler son hydrated enough each day, and God provided. He showed me a way and Caleb started to and praise God has continued to eat again. Life is not perfect and I have to spend time every single day delighting myself in God, without him life is certainly to harder than it should be, and there is much to delight in.

Martin Luther once said “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer”. I used to think he was exaggerating, or that just ’cause He was Luther he could somehow have a prayer life like that, but I am starting to realize that Luther got it. He truly got it. He got that the more he had to face, or the more he had to surmount that day, the more He needed the Holy Ghost. The more He needed to move and groove in the Spirit…He needed God’s very present help. God taught me a long time ago, when I was just a teenager how when I would sacrifice something in order to spend time with Him, especially when it required faith to give up that time to pray and also be able to finish a research paper or something…God always helped me to get everything I needed to get done on time, but when I skimped out on God and chose not to walk with faith or sacrificially in prayer then I truly struggled! We can get to the finish line, but Jesus said His burden was light. We make it heavy and burdensome when we don’t delight ourselves in Him. I seem to have faltered in that die hard commitment to sacrificial prayer somewhat. I have been staying up into the wee hours or all night pumping, cooking, cleaning, doing everything within MY power to get me son’s situation straightened out…But the thing is –MY power is never going to be good enough and quite frankly is waning thin into weariness. I don’t need to and should in fact be intentional to not spend all my time on MY power, I need to spend time with THE POWER, the ONLY power that really will help, to spend time with God. He knows the way. Just like He knew how to get Caleb back on my milk when I was told it would be like winning the lottery. God knows how to heal Caleb’s gut and how to get him to eat. God’s way. God’s leadership. Me spending time with Him.

Whether the desire of your heart is for your baby to eat and to thrive or something else just know this, God loves you and desires to bless you and your children. Spend time with Him. Delight yourself in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. When we delight ourselves in God He transforms us by the entire renewal of our minds and our desires come into alignment with His and His will is able to manifest in us. When we delight ourselves in God we are no longer fighting against the goads. We cannot successfully hold up the rage or the sorrow in us, railing and fighting and shaking our fist in confusion and at the same time be blessed. We need to release everything to God. We need to let Him be our Shepherd, including letting Him use his staff to fight our enemies on our behalf instead of running between Him and the bear bleating in fear. Let Him fight your battles.

So I realized I needed to start being intentional about “delighting myself in the Lord” but wondered exactly how I should go about it, this intentional practice during my time with God. Then I heard the answer in passing on the radio (ok God is so awesome in His grace to answer my heart’s query like that isn’t He!?):

“How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!
    All who delight in him should ponder them.”
Psalm 111:2

So there we go: ponder the amazing deeds of the Lord. Delight myself in Him.

I delight myself in Him as I ponder how He:

  • Gave me a baby boy to grow within my womb after 5 years of unsuccessful attempts at conception.
  • I delight myself in the Lord for giving Caleb the breath of life after his first intubation failed at birth, hallelujah!
  • I delight myself in the Lord for gifting Caleb an Owlet oxygen monitor through an Instagram contest right before He was born ’cause God knew his oxygen would be affected by his tongue tie!
  • I delight myself in the Lord when I reflect on the velcro swaddles God gave Caleb through the same contest because He knew the struggles we would go through trying to get Caleb to sleep as a newborn, God knew ahead of time.
  • I ponder with great amazement and eternal gratitude that God provided a professional grade oxygen and heart monitor that literally saved my son’s life, waking me up with it’s alarm to audibly hear and find my son choking on his back in his bassinet, then again in his rock ‘n play.
  • I delight myself in the Lord as I ponder how amazing it is that He healed Caleb at 12 weeks of age from whatever it was that was specifically causing the low oxygen, whether it was narrow airways, or whatever, God healed Caleb!
  • I ponder in amazement and immense gratefulness that God revealed to me that my son was tongue tied after many medical professionals including a lactation consultant and ‘feeding therapist’ missed it! God showed me, I kept on praying and He showed me after generations in my family have suffered on a spectrum from this in one form or another, the veil has been removed!
  • I rejoice in the Lord and remember that God told me not to give Caleb omeprazole. Even though I did, God warned me. He warned me, even though He knew I would disobey, He still took the time to warn me…
  • I rejoice in the Lord as I reflect on how God provided a free hospital grade breast pump to me even when my insurance referral was rejected time and time again.
  • I rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for prodding me forward to keep on pumping even in the middle of the night for 40 days and 40 nights without my baby drinking any of the milk because it turns out my milk has essentially “saved my baby’s life”.
  • I rejoice and give thanks to the Lord as I reflect and remember on how He led me to an online retailer for grass fed grass finished water processed lamb that would ship all the lamb we need for Caleb to Alaska for only $7.50, for real!!!!
  • I give thanks and rejoice in the Lord for providing free ready to feed alimentum to get Caleb through the time when I was pumping and storing.
  • I give praise and delight myself in God for revealing and showing to me that my baby had food allergies and intolerances at just 12 weeks of age even when a medical professional scoffed at the idea until my son’s oxygen improved the rest of the way and his lips turned red and then he tested positive for corn and a trace for wheat.
  • I delight myself in the Lord for giving Caleb shoes as a newborn through a gift that have turned out to be the only type of shoe we own so far (without having special ordered) that fits Caleb’s feet and his orthotics and keeps his feet warm at the same time.
  • I rejoice in the Lord and give Him eternal praise for providing corn free soy free goat kefir grains for breastmilk kefir, which has turned out to be a MAJOR key for healing Caleb’s gut.
  • I ponder with great thanksgiving and wonder that amazingly God has provided some corn free soy free goat colostrum for when his body is ready to handle it in order to further bless his immune system healing.
  • I rejoice in El Roi, the God who Sees who showed me that my son needed the prebiotic in my breastmilk to defeat the pathogenic bacteria in his body.
  • I rejoice and give thanks to God for increasing my milk supply with the hospital grade pump and for helping me to wake up and cluster pump etc. and still have energy to cook for Caleb’s gut healing diet and for therapy.
  • I rejoice and give thanks to God for showing me the GAPS diet when Caleb was just 5 months old to heal his gut and to reverse all allergies and intolerances as well as neurological sensitives.
  • I ponder in amazement that 7 years ago when we purchased our home in Alaska from Okinawa, Japan that we purchased a home without a smart meter attached to it and in a bit of a dead zone for a meter given our city location. This is a blessing of providence. There are so many examples of God’s providential love that I could continue to think of them forever and write them down.
  • I reflect in amazement and thanksgiving on how God has give me and Caleb life, in the image of God himself. I now choose to walk humbly before God in holy stewardship of this image of God that I reside in.
  • I delight myself in God for giving Caleb everything He has ever needed. For healing my son. For being our strong and mighty Shepherd through the rocky, craggy, high places. He is leading us to green pastures where we can rest and thrive. I rejoice and I delight myself in Him.Hallelujah.
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Take it Back

Sometimes we wish we could go back and do something different, other times if needed we wish we could go back in time and do something that was hard, uncomfortable or of great sacrifice all over again in an instant because the outcome was worth it. Today I feel both. I wish I could go back in time and never have given my son omeprazole. Today I would in an instant choose to go into labor and give birth to my son all over again cause he is worth every bit of pain I went through in my all-natural dry birth. He would be worth me going through that to give him the bacteria his body so desperately needs. I can’t go back and go through labor again for my precious little one. I can’t even give my own life for his healing. BUT there is One who Has given His life for my son’s healing and His name is Jesus. Caleb was worth it to Him too when we was scourged, beaten, ridiculed, spit upon and nailed to that cross.

I haven’t posted a blog update for a while. God has been doing some amazing things that I need to talk about, and will…but today’s blog needs to be about one thing. Setting the record straight. In my last blog I am guilty of false testimony. I accredited God with something He did not do, something damaging and destructive. God DID heal Caleb of whatever was going on with his oxygen, his lips turned red and whatever was causing it to be low or dipping down frequently associated with choking, gagging and apparent struggling to breathe went away. God also revealed to me that Caleb had a food allergy, at just 3 months of age. What God did NOT do was tell me to give my son corn-free omeprazole. God DID tell me to call the pharmacy when the first doctor prescribed corny omeprazole and tell them this: “God healed my son and so he will no longer need omeprazole, so you do not need to worry about getting it ready.” I was nervous to do this because I didn’t want to sound weird, even though I knew God healed my son, the Holy Spirit was testifying to me that He had…I made the phone call. I told the pharmacist just that. Then Caleb’s oxygen monitor seemed to dip a bit in oxygen from the 98-100% it had been resting so beautifully and continuously and miraculously at for two whole weeks! Again, I knew God had healed my son ‘cause the Holy Spirit was making sure I knew he did. I had the confirmation and testimony of the Spirit even when this happened. At first I just resolutely responded in the spirit realm by saying my son was healed. But temptation to doubt began to hit me hard. What if God had only healed the oxygen and not the reflux…”WHAT IF”…then when the next doctor we saw prescribed corn-free omeprazole instead of telling the specialist to his face “no, God has healed my son, he doesn’t need the medicine” just like God had already told me to tell the pharmacist, what did I do? I began to listen to the voice that said “DID GOD REALLY SAY”. Sound familiar? Eve heard that same voice in the garden…“Did God really say?”… and she ate the fruit, she convinced herself to take a bite, she took the bait. She listened to the lie. So did I…so did I. I convinced myself that it must have been to protect Caleb from the corn allergy, surely that is actually what God meant. Boy was I wrong. God is clear. He is not confusing.

I cannot even begin to explain to you the regret I have. The sorrow upon sorrow, the tears I have shed. What I have learned and now know is that when God does something miraculous, something amazing, like healing…when God does that Satan will try desperately to do three things: 1) cast doubt in other people’s minds, 2) cast doubt in your own mind and 3) try to get you to be the one that casts the doubt. What happened when Christ rose from the dead? The enemies of God wasted no time in spreading false testimony, lies, and doubts. I figured out after a month of confusion with red lips and testimony from the Holy Spirit that Caleb was healed, but weird oxygen readings that didn’t fit, was that the reason the oxygen appeared to have lowered again was because his foot had grown fatter and the monitor was giving a false reading! It was all smoke and mirrors (another tactic of the enemy, beware)! Who is the author of confusion? Not God. A test of my faith, who would I listen to? Would I walk by faith and not by sight? By this time I had already posted on Facebook that my son’s 02 was dropping still based on foods (another must be)after having posted God healed Caleb (which he did!). I allowed myself to be used to plant doubt about God’s amazing miracle he had done in my son AND I allowed myself to doubt…not only that but when I gave doubt a foothold and disobedience a foothold I also gave legal authority to Satan to land a new form of curse or oppression. You see he had none left, the serpent was drowning in the blood and he couldn’t get to me or Caleb anymore because God had removed authority for oppression when He healed Caleb’s oxygen and showed me what was up with his food. The serpent’s oppression had ceased, his foothold had been destroyed. His last ditch effort before going under was to get me to create a new foothold for a new curse, a new form of oppression.

Why was it so important to the enemy to convince me to give the omeprazole? My son’s gut microbiome had already taken a hit when he was put on two rounds of completely unnecessary antibiotics in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit starting at just 7 days of age. The gut microbiome takes 21 days to reach a point of establishment after birth, the gut takes 2-3 years to mature. Antibiotics don’t just kill good bacteria. Then after 3 months of caffeine that created outrageous silent reflux God revealed to me my son’s allergic responses to corn in his throat. Then came the omeprazole. Omeprazole lowered my son’s stomach acid ph blocking his body’s ability to create two key hormones that trigger the creation of digestive enzymes and also prevent food from being digested enough before being deposited into the lower gi tract where the enzymes were now out of whack in addition to the previous bacteria hit, not to mention the new ph created an environment perfect for pathogens to thrive. My son’s baby poop had still been perfect and seedy prior to the omeprazole, even after the PICU and caffeine. It wasn’t until the omeprazole that things changed. My 13 month old would be eating a lot more than just lamb stock, pureed lamb, hypoallergenic probiotics and breastmilk from my limited diet right now if I had stood firm in my faith and obeyed God, instead of convincing myself to believe a lie and then spread lies and false testimony by having the audacity to say “God must have…” and accrediting God with destruction. No. I repent. I redact. I declare that I lied, Satan lied. Truth was smeared. I sob.

And yet God has been so kind and gracious, God is love, even when we are in desperate straits or in the wilderness. I think sometimes we like to think that we are immune to consequences under the new covenant, but we are not. Curses and consequences are alive and until we confess, repent and seek the blood of Jesus in court the judgments stand firm. There is only One thing that can stand in the court of God to break the power of our sins, transgressions and iniquities and that is Jesus. “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus was pierced for my transgression of the omeprazole. He was crushed and bruised for the iniquity that runs in our family’s bloodline of dishonoring our bodies, the images of God, with food and destructive pharmaceuticals. He was chastised so Caleb could be well and at peace, He was scourged and wounded so Caleb can be healed. Jesus made a curse, was made to be sin so we could bring our curses and our sins to the throne to stop the enemy, to remove the stronghold, to destroy the foothold. “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

God is my son’s healer. Not me, not my tears, and not even my zeal, though it be great. None of these can heal my son on their own. But—GOD can. The LORD is my son’s healer. The LORD is my son’s strength. The LORD is my son’ hope and REDEEMER and DELIVERER.

“For thus says the LORD: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children” (Isaiah 49:25).

“And my soul shall rejoice in the Lord; It shall exult in His salvation. All my bones will say, “Lord, who is like You, Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him, And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?” Psalm 35:9-10

My confession is so important, to set the record straight, not only in God’s courts, but here on earth. I don’t write the story. I don’t figure out “what God must be doing.” I should not credit God with things so easily. I believe we as humans need to be very careful with what we credit God for. All too often we give occasion to the enemy to blaspheme by declaring false testimony about situations or conditions in our bodies or minds, our children’s bodies or minds, relationships, life, everything! Declaring that something that is actually a form of demonic deception and oppression to somehow be God’s blessed will is definitely something we need to have the fear of God in us about! God ordained each of our days before we lived even one of them. He purposed them, He thought about each one of them. He decreed His will for them. Many days, many bodies, many situations, many families, many bloodlines get hijacked and the ordained will of God desecrated and blasphemed because we give legal authority to darkness instead of light. To lies instead of truths. We need to stand firm. We need to fight. We need to endure in this race. As the author of Hebrews says in chapter 12 verse 12 “So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.” Stand FIRM. Seek to enter God’s courts. To state your case. Press in and be careful what you attribute to God. My job is to listen, to trust and to obey. To follow even when I don’t understand why or where or what. God is the author of my son’s destiny. Psalm 139:16 says that God ordained each one of my son’s days before they existed. God took the time to do that. With godly fear I seek to humbly raise my son in God’s way. Not my way. Not my story. God’s way. God’s story. God is the author. God does not need PR. God does not need a spin to make a good story. God needs honesty, humility and truth, even when we don’t know the explanation yet. We don’t need to be able to explain something to stand firm in the truth of it. We don’t need to be able to explain something God has commanded us to do to obey it.

When the Israelites were in wilderness God took care of them. He turned bitter water into sweet water. He led them to 12 springs…12 springs, 1 for each tribe. I love that. God knew the Israelites would end up spending a long time in that wilderness and even though He knew they would disobey Him with the golden calf and have to be punished He still created ahead of time springs at Elim for them for when they first entered into the wilderness which would become the wilderness of their disobedience.

“There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.” Exodus 15:25-27

Who knows, maybe He even created those springs at the beginning, or during the flood! God knows way ahead and provides way ahead before we can possibly even ask Him. That is called God’s providence. How beautiful is His providence. He met their needs, time and time again even though a whole generation would die in the wilderness. God gave them manna and quail. He led them by fire at night and cloud during the day. God was with them in the wilderness. God knew they would try His patience, He knew they would build the golden calf, but God still delivered them from Egypt, still promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob even though he knew of the rebellion that would come from the many generations ahead, He still chose Abraham. He still chose the Israelites to fulfill his purposes, His destiny to bless all peoples through Jesus Christ the Messiah.

Just like I would go back to the pain of labor and delivery of my son and do it all over again for him in an instant because he is worth it, Jesus I feel would go back to the cross in an instant and do it all over again for me, for us, because He loves us so much. God knew every sin that we would ever commit, He knew everything we would say, think or do in disobedience even after becoming a child of God, and He still went to the cross. I acutely remember my son’s labor and birth, this is a memory that is strong and mighty in my relationship with my son. I will always remember that night and day as part of my identity in my relationship with my son, no matter his age. Jesus gazes at us, the experience of the cross acutely vivid in his heart and mind. His dripping blood hot on the cross of calvary. Furthermore Jesus exists outside of time, He is God. He is omnipresent. This vivid experience of the cross is something that He is acutely aware of at all times in His relationship with us as our Lord, Savior, Redeemer and Intercessor. He knew everything we would do, and He still endured the cross for us, He still loved us. God knew I would listen to the enemy’s “Did God really say?” in regards to the omeprazole but He still healed my son’s oxygen.  He still prompted me to push through temptation and to keep on pumping so my milk wouldn’t dry up. He still showed me the GAPS diet to address my son’s gut before I understood the terrible thing I had done. He didn’t decide I wasn’t worth it because I would ultimately disobey Him. He still provided a free medical grade breast pump to me even when I hadn’t yet found a supplier to fill my insurance referral. God still revealed to me that my son had tongue tie and lip tie at the end of July (more on that in another post to come). After I tried and failed with corn free chicken and pork, God still provided a company that will ship the grass fed and grass finished lamb my son needs to Alaska for only $7.50!! God still provided free DNA stool tests to show me the condition of the bacteria in my son’s gut and to give me a picture of what we are up against.

We only see a faint reflection. God sees it all clearly. We will never gain enough knowledge to make the right decisions without God. We don’t even need our science and technology. When God created us at the beginning He said it was good and He meant it! It was good. It didn’t need to be “made better”. We can trust God without knowing or understanding it all first. In fact we must because we never will attain such a thing, there is only One God, there is only One voice to heed, there is only One word we must listen to: God’s.

Prayer Need:
Like I mentioned above, we desperately need’s prayer support in order to break the power of the pathogenic bacteria called b. fragilis. The DNA tests have revealed a serious situation of growth by this antibiotic resistant and pathogenic bacteria. The silver lining is that between the two tests the corn free soy free goat’s milk kefir grains that God has provided recently have helped to diversify my son’s gut. I believe these are a very important part of the battle strategy pray so please pray for them to stay healthy and for my son to have plenty of kefir. Please pray for God to protect my son’s abdominal organs, his brain, blood, lungs, entire gi tract and more. Please pray especially for this pathogenic bacteria to stop growing, for it to be evicted and to be brought under control by the good bacteria! This is a serious and urgent prayer need for Caleb. Please pray also for my milk supply to substantially increase or for me to find a donor whose milk works for him so it can feed the good bacteria called bifodum longum and to make plenty of breastmilk kefir. Please pray for me to hear from God and for me to be brave and prompt in obedience and for all of Caleb’s needs to be provided for as we stand firm even if our knees shake at times. Please pray for innocent baby Caleb’s gut to be restored, for what was robbed from him to be given back to him and then some. For his body to no longer be held captive, but for him to be set free, for him to be able to eat all foods, more foods. For food to be a blessing and not a curse. For His gut microbiome to be a blessing and not a curse. For him to be healed and not oppressed. For him to be blessed and not cursed. In Jesus’ name. So be it.

Also, I am at the end of a study on curses and based on what I have learned about word curses or blessings I must ask that if you pray or share this blog, please be careful to not make declarative statements about me or Caleb that align with the enemy’s plans. Also, please be judicious with who you share this information with and with what motive. We need prayer. We don’t need to be a sensational story, topic of conversation, or spoken of with firm statements or phrases that confess or agree with our plight. Please just choose your words carefully to bless us according to God’s plans He wrote in our books before we were even formed in the womb vs words that agree with curses against us or that give the enemy an opportunity to revel or delight or curse even further.

Thank you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:13-16

 

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Strengthened in the Wilderness

Yesterday I posted about staying faithful to God in the wilderness, even a wilderness that comes upon us because of the sins of others. We are to fully follow God–whether He tells us to go back into a wilderness or to go forward into the Promised Land. Not every wilderness is the result of another’s sin. I’ve suffered in the wilderness because of my own sins (see my post But, there is a Redeemer) and I’ve suffered in the wilderness simply because we live in a fallen world and there is a curse of death upon our bodies (see my blog series starting with 5 Years). No matter how we end up in a wilderness though, if we humble ourselves before the Lord and recognize His authority by submitting to Him then God will provide for us in the midst of the suffering.

Think about Elijah, when Ahab and Jezebel brought suffering upon Israel because of their sin. The land was parched with drought, and on top of that Ahab and Jezebel were out to kill Elijah. Jezebel was out to kill all of the prophets of God in fact. It was a dangerous and perilous time to be a prophet of God–but God provided for Elijah. Elijah was faithful to God in the “wilderness” season of his life and God in turn transformed the actual wilderness into a safe haven for Elijah:

“Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.  You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”

So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.” I Kings 17:2-6

One of my favorite verses in Exodus is chapter 15 verse 27:

“Then they [the Israelites during the Exodus in the wilderness] came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.”

God had created these 12 springs of water, one for each of the tribes of Israel, way before the Exodus. In His providence He created a safe haven for them, a place to camp at. Interestingly, and importantly they were tested directly before this provision with a time of wondering where there was no water, and a time where there was only bitter, unfit water.

Whether we’ve brought the consequences of sin upon ourselves, or whether we are suffering because of others or even because of the way we were born–God longs to be tender and affectionate towards us in the wilderness. He longs to provide for us supernaturally and providentially. God is able. Sometimes we find ourselves in a wilderness all of a sudden, and sometimes, just like Caleb, Joshua and Elijah, we need to obey God when he tells us to enter into the wilderness.

It is in the wilderness where God can teach us and refine us. It is in the wilderness where God chooses often to show Himself mighty and strong. It is in the wilderness where God delights in magnifying His love and His provision to His faithful ones. It is in the wilderness where you suddenly become aware of how much you have to rely upon Him. It is in the wilderness where He opens up the Rock and nourishes us with Living Water.

He is all that we need.

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Faithful in the Wilderness

I’ve recently been going through the Bible and reading all of the scriptures about Caleb in the Bible. This led me to reading and meditating upon Numbers 13-14. Here Joshua and Caleb go out with the rest of the spies that God commands to scout the promised to bring a report back. Joshua and Caleb bring back a report of faith, encouraging the people to follow God into the land, and promptly! They were eager to go because of their faith, they were excited to go into the land, into the promise God had for them and His people.

The rest of the spies saw the land through eyes that lacked faith in God. They scared the people into not wanting to enter the land. In fact their report is described as “evil”. To discourage or detract others from God’s will is evil. One of the footnotes in the Amplified Classic version describes it best, “God is what makes the difference between cowards and Calebs”…You see if God is with you and if you are walking in obedience with Him, then who can be against you?

However, the majority of the people were not in-tune with God, they lacked faith because they lacked a devotion to God. The best way to build faith, to build devotion is to devote time in prayer and to cherish time spent in the study of His word. To wait upon the Lord. Shockingly they became so consumed in their fears and self-justified in their way instead of God’s way that they sought to stone Joshua and Caleb after Caleb pled with them to not rebel, but to trust and obey God instead. Not only that, but the crowd decided it would be best to throw Moses and Aaron out of leadership so that they could get a leader that would take them back to Egypt…back into bondage, away from what they perceived to be impending disaster via sword in Canaan.

As many of us know the consequence of this was that they had to wonder 40 more years in the wilderness and every adult besides Joshua and Caleb would perish during that time. Did you ever notice though that it wasn’t just the rebellious ones that suffered? Their children suffered too. In Number 14:32-33 God tells them:

“But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness.

And your children shall be wanderers and shepherds in the wilderness for forty years and shall suffer for your whoredoms (your infidelity to your espoused God), until your corpses are consumed in the wilderness.

After the number of the days in which you spied out the land [of Canaan], even forty days, for each day a year shall you bear and suffer for your iniquities, even for forty years, and you shall know My displeasure [the revoking of My promise and My estrangement].”

We don’t sin in a vacuum. Our sin hurts others. Our sin hurts our children. There are real consequences for listening to the lies of fear and the reasoning of our own hearts rather than living by faith according to God’s commandments and Word.

The children weren’t the only ones to suffer though, so did Joshua and Caleb. So did the members of the congregation that were fully devoted and on-board with God’s plan to enter the promised land. They had to wander the wilderness too, for 40 more years of their life because of the sin of others. They hadn’t done anything wrong! Wouldn’t you be tempted in a situation like that to think “Hey wait a minute, I get that they have to be punished, but why me, I want to obey You, I want to enter the land…” Would you be tempted to leave, to give up on those that tried to stone you and oust God’s ordained leaders? Would you be tempted to test God and question His inclusion of you in the corporate consequences? Joshua and Caleb remained faithful to God though, even as they wondered the wilderness for 40 more years, their children and their families with them.

God is calling each of us to be wholly and fully devoted to Him and to remain faithful to Him, even if we are suffering because of the sins of others. Whether that sin be the sin of our parents or sin within a corporate body that you belong to. Think about our nation. We will suffer consequences as a nation for the decisions of the majority, for the decisions of leaders. In the midst of it all, God call those that are His to remain faithful to Him. To keep our eyes fixed on Him.

Caleb and Joshua did end up entering the promised land. Caleb was 85 years old when he finally got to go into battle for the portion of the land that was his inheritance:

“Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in.” Joshua 15:10-11

God blessed Caleb with strength to fight still, even when he was 85, He was faithful and good to Caleb because Caleb had remained faithful to Him even when he had lost 45 years of his life to the wilderness because of corporate sin…The question is will you and I remain faithful to God in similar situations?

The Israelites are recorded over and over again as grumblers and complainers in the wilderness…grumbling against God. But Caleb is described as a man that was fully devoted to God and Joshua declared that as for him and his house they would serve the Lord. Although the people had wanted to stone them in Numbers 13 and 14, God protected them and these to men of courage didn’t give up because of discouragement, they remained in the places of leadership where God had placed them.

We each have a decision to make. Will we grumble and complain when the sins of others sweep us into a wilderness, a wilderness that is a consequence of another’s sin? Or will we stay steadfast in our trust and obedience to God? Making sure our heart is right, our mouth is pure before the Lord. We are each accountable for our own heart. We must remain faithful, devoted and focused on God, on His blessings and provision…whether or not we are in the wilderness or the promised land.

But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. Numbers 14:24

Lord please help me to have a different spirit than the one that seeks to rule in my flesh. Please fill me with your Spirit. Lord please help me to walk according to the new heart and the new creation that I am in Jesus Christ, as a slave to righteousness instead of as a slave to sin. Lord please help me to remain devoted to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Lord please help me to remain devoted to You and to follow you fully whether it is in the wilderness or in the promised land.