The Between

Willow Creek | June 15, 2021

Pastor Dave continued Courage Calling: Lessons from Joshua this past weekend with a message called “Courage to Navigate the Wilderness.” Using the Israelites as an example, Dave explained the struggle that occurs when we’re between where we were and where we want to be. For the Israelites, that “between” was the wilderness; each of us goes through our own periods of wilderness, too. 


What do we do? What do we do when we’re between addict and sober, married and single, and sick and healthy? We live in a fast-paced society where we want immediate results: we want faster download speeds, quicker online delivery, and more registers open at Target. It’s easy to bring that mindset over to when we’re in our wildernesses, when we’re between. 


We want to go from point A to point B as quickly as possible. We want rehab to be automatic, reconciliation to happen instantly, and healing to come with a regiment of pills. Unfortunately, most of the time, that’s not how God works. His timing and ours are often at odds. 


It was in the wilderness where the Israelites learned who God was. They learned Him as provider, healer, protector, and leader. Without the wilderness–the work and discomfort and grind–the Israelites would not have known the truth of the God who brought them into the Promised Land. 


It’s the same for us: it’s in the wilderness where we experience God. When we’re fighting to resist that next drink or drug, that’s when we come to realize our God still loves us no matter what. When we’re trying to piece a marriage back together, that’s when we learn God can redeem even the harshest words and cruelest actions. When we’re praying for a miracle in regards to our health–because praying is all we have left–that’s when we learn a peace and comfort that there is truly no one like our God. 


For most of us, while we’re in the wilderness, it’s a grueling uphill climb, but when we’re out of it, we never turn around and regret the journey. We realize we would never know God the way we do now had it not been for our wilderness.


So, what do we do? We echo and believe Solomon’s words: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Like the Israelites, God doesn’t bring us into the wilderness to leave us in the wilderness; He brings us into the wilderness to carry us out of it with a better understanding and knowledge of who He is.


When we’re in our wilderness, trying to piece it all together and brace for what’s coming next over the hill, let’s follow Joshua’s example in leading the Israelites: trust God and keep on going.