How to Respond to Being in the Wilderness

We discussed last time the purpose for God leading us to the “wilderness”.  These are periods of time when we go through difficulties and our faith is tested. Today we consider the right way to respond to these tests and trials. 

  • First we need to learn about Him. Look towards God only, instead of looking at the fearful and worry-some things around us. Have faith that things will change and put trust in God, believing He is handling it.
  • Second, examine ourselves and see if we are following His commandments. For instance, do we love God, do we love our neighbor as ourselves?  Do we use our power to satisfy our own desires or do we help others first? Do we do things to show off or hide our own weakness and hurt others at the same time?  When difficult things happen the purpose may be to bring our attention to our own actions and ask God’s help to adjust our behavior. God is like a loving father trying to show his child how he can improve. God never asks us to admit what we did wrong, instead shows us what we need to adjust and make it better. If a child loves his father and trusts him and accepts his guidance, the relationship between father and child becomes stronger. If we know God in this way, then we can feel His love more and more.

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. (Luke 10:27 )

O SON OF SPIRIT! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting. (Hidden words 1, Baha’u’llah)

  • The third thing we must do is praise and show gratitude to God. We must build stronger faith upon God’s promises in the Holy Books. By doing this we turn our spirit away from darkness and to the light of Kingdom of God. This is a very powerful force of the spirit which can help us through difficult states of mind. 

 16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (Thessalonians 5:16~18)

As the spiritual happiness, this is the true basis of the life of man, for life is created for happiness, not for sorrow; for pleasure, not for grief. Happiness is life; sorrow is death. Spiritual happiness is life eternal. This is a light which is not followed by darkness. ( Abdu’l-Baha, The Divine Art of Living, p 29)

In last few days we talked about God’s plan for each of us. We know that we have a choice to make. We can ether choose to follow God’s will for our good or follow our own will and react in an untrusting and rebellious way. If we do follow our own will, very soon we will find out that doing so will never solve our problems and give us inner peace . Sometimes we might try to walk away from it and think the issue is solved. But the root problem is still there. For example, a person who tends to dominate things and likes to have things in their control, usually is suffering from insecurity. Addressing the source of the insecurity will address the conflicts we have with others.  So there are two things we focus on, one is to review ourselves and address the problems we have. By facing God honestly and repenting the things we did wrong will help to build a relationship with God. This is an interactive process, we can pray for guidance and it will help to strength us. When we determine to make the change, the help will come. And that is the place where we “meet” God and feel His existence. The other thing we focus on is building stronger faith. We mentioned before that the “wilderness” for some people is a “test” from God. It is a test of our own desire, patience, obidience, humbleness, sacrifice… this usually is the training from God to bring us up to different level of spirituality and stronger faith. 

These are the tips I learn from Pastor Jiāngxiùqín江秀琴 and they really help me through a difficult time. I really hope this will help you too. We will address more about the difficulties we encounter in our life and how we use three tools (meditation, prayer, and reading scriptures) to overcome them. In the practice of inner life you will learn more about God and build a relationship with Him. I hope you will be able to find your spiritual home soon.

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