Hope will always light up your way
For certain, the world’s inhabitants are being led on a path that we have never walked before. It is for such a time as this we that need to keep our hearts and eyes firmly fixed on God who truly knows the end from the beginning. When we are afraid and worried about what may happen tomorrow, amidst all the confusion and separation that is upon the world, let us be encouraged by God’s glorious hope that He gives on every page of the Bible.
It does appear that we are in a wilderness at present, living in narrow times, and for many it may seem like they are in dire straits. Some semblance of normal living seems to be returning, the gathering places are filling with life again, and the sound of children playing in the parks and streets should continue to increase. Challenges to the global economy is the unknown right now and everyone seems to be asking “How long will this unseen, invisible separator and disrupter of humankind be on earth?”
BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING
It is easy in times like these to slide into anxiety, fear or depression—and sometimes we even forget to breathe when we feel stifled by the overwhelming shifts around the globe. It is of enormous value to your sense of well-being to choose carefully what you listen to, watch and what you think about all day. Be assured that this is the structure that determines the frailty or strength in your life.
The key driving force in all that we are experiencing, is that the shaking is only for a season. How long that season will be, no-one knows, but for sure, everything that can be shaken is being shaken. We have many, many promises that are there for us and all we need to do is to live into them so that they joyfully become our reality.
YOUR WELL-BEING MUST BECOME YOUR WELL-SPRING
One lifeline verse from The Passion Translation Bible that I pray over myself continually is found in Romans 1:1: May His joyous grace and total well-being, flowing from our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ rest upon you. If we are fighting for one thing in this time, it is a wonderful sense of well-being. It at times can appear that everything is flying toward you from every angle and each circumstance feels like it will upend you! Notice I use the words, appear and feel, because it may appear and feel a certain way, but you can rise above it.
You can imagine while the Israelites were sojourning around the wilderness for 40 years, they would have needed hope to keep pressing on. Here is a beautiful promise to hold onto:
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. (Deuteronomy 8:7–9)
While it may seem all doom and gloom in this wilderness state we find ourselves in, this is a perfect opportunity to take a moment to recognize the greatness, and omnipotence of Almighty God. Isaiah tried to describe His power this way:
Isaiah 40:12-15, The Voice
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on a scale
and the hills with a balance?
Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,
or informed Him as His counselor?
Whom did He consult to enlighten Him,
and who taught Him the paths of justice?
Who imparted knowledge to Him
and showed Him the way of understanding?
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are considered a speck of dust on the scales;
He lifts up the islands like fine dust.
When we get our perspective of God in His fullest measure (not that we can entirely conceive this), somehow the trials on earth seem to get downsized to what they really are.
It reminds me of that popular hymn from old:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of the earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
FROM THE WILDERNESS TO THE PROMISED LAND
Every person will at some stage have the invitation to go through the transformation process to get from the wilderness to their Promised Land. This transformation process requires an inside-out approach to shift the obstacles that keep you trapped and hinder your ability to powerfully impact your external environment.
Transformation means letting go of those things that weigh you down and overwhelm you, so you are able to travel light to the Promised Land that awaits you. The wilderness is a harsh place to live because it is characterized by isolation, rejection, and desperation. The wilderness is where you live when you don’t willingly go through the process of personal transformation and don’t single heartedly follow the instructions that God so graciously gave us for our good.
PREVENT YOUR PAST FROM INTERFERING WITH YOUR PRESENT
If you remember that the wilderness is a vital part of the journey, the Promised Land looks far more promising. Emerging out of the wilderness calls for your willingness not to let your past interfere with your present or dabble with your future. Like Lot’s wife, we cannot afford to look back and become lifeless without reaching our yet-to-be expressed potential.
Living your life with powerful expression requires your enthusiasm to live life with energy and vitality, to work well, to love unconditionally and to always be open to new opportunities. You must be aware, be alert and insightful enough to recognize when your Promised Land reveals itself. Be prepared to take risks and to take action. Your life-leadership cannot be built on what you are going to do. Take responsibility for who you are, for your actions, and for your outcomes.
The moment you blame-shift, you shift your responsibility to someone else and diminish your leadership in the eyes of others. Never stop the quest for self-development, improvement, and personal and career growth. You can’t inspire others if you stay stuck in the wilderness.
You are a real candidate to inspire others when you come out the other side strengthened, renewed, transformed and ready to make a difference to the world around you. You can then share your journey from a position of strength for the benefit of others.
WHAT DOES YOUR PROMISED LAND LOOK LIKE?
What does your Promised Land look like? Stop for a moment, take a notepad and pen, or your mobile device, and write down what you experience when you find yourself in the wilderness: is it a lack of provision, weariness, frustration, low-to-no productivity, feelings of uselessness and idleness? This in itself should be the catalyst to make you want to press on very swiftly to your Promised Land.
In the book of Isaiah chapter 60, he portrays beautiful imagery of how we will, if we are not cautious, live partially in the wilderness (the dark), and partially in the Promised Land (or the light), if we don’t make a distinct and definite decision to arise from our current situation. This global situation we are living in right now, is perfectly described in Isaiah 60.
Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and dense darkness [all] peoples, but the Lord shall arise upon you and His glory shall be seen on you.
And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
Lift up your eyes round about you and see!
That seems to sum up our world right now. God’s light and hope is meant to shine and radiate through us as His people, to bring light into a very dark and depressed world. But that light won’t shine until you arise, take your stand, and leave your own personal wilderness to enter that glorious land that awaits. Your best is still out ahead of you. The best use of you is still to be experienced by others.
So how do you make your way to your promised land, you may ask? When God led the Israelites through the desert, He went before them in a pillar of cloud to guide their way by day, and in a pillar of fire to give them light by night, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place before the people.
THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE
When we keep our eyes on God, have our ears glued to His word which is loaded with instruction for daily living, and we remind ourselves that His commands are never for our detriment or judgment but rather for our good, then the landscape begins to change.
Now write down what your land of promise holds. What changes do you need to make to transition from the wilderness to the Promised Land? What price are you prepared to pay to get there? How desperately do you want to be out of your wilderness? What more needs to happen before you make the change?
You must be able to craft your future vision. A vision is creating your future despite the reality of the present. See it in your mind’s eye, to make your way forward. Knowing how to get to this Promised Land is going to require reflective thinking, taking everything and everyone into account. See the bigger picture, scan the new bountiful horizon, and let it become a beacon light for you-shining on and giving you light and hope all the way. Dream it, believe it, see it, share it, plan it, work it and enjoy it. Have great hope for it.
As you sojourn to your broad, new landscape, may God bless you and keep you, may God make His face to shine upon you and give you His unfathomable peace. Hope will always light up your way.
This beautiful artwork at the head of this page is a series by the gifted artist Ciska Swanepoel. Ciska and I collaborated on a project and combined her artistic talent and quotes from my books and all proceeds from the sales of these packs of cards and notebooks is generously given to many wonderful causes.
Connect with me on my future blog posts where this series of artwork, “What are you Holding in Your Hands” will be displayed.
To support this great endeavor and enjoy your beautiful cards, contact Ciska: