Overcome This Wilderness

Image by Jeff H. Ulrich (2017)

I get the most powerful sense of God’s attentiveness where, in a place of great adversity, I choose to believe in Him.  Where I have not given up but, rather, affirmed my heart for the Savior who was once tested in the wilderness — the tempter seemed to flee as my soul felt baptized in the consoling warmth of Heaven’s cleansing waters.

The enemy now knows that I would not exchange my hope in God’s Kingdom for a better place in this wilderness of corruptedness.  Yet, he continues to try me; he would not stop until the end of my days.  But I would echo the chorus of a heartfelt old hymn, where the unknown author wrote, “Take this whole world, but give me Jesus.  I won’t turn back, I won’t turn back.”  And this opportunity is given to each of us so that, when we are broken and crushed, we can feel the nearness of the loving God who saves His children.

Helen H. Lemmel wrote the following refrain in 1922 for her musical exhortation, Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus:”

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, … Look full in His wonderful face, … And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, … In the light of His glory and grace.”

Decades have passed since I last heard a congregation lift up its voices to sing this old hymn.  But its melody and message still resonate in me and ring true when I would otherwise be overtaken by my circumstances; I am reminded that we can overcome “by fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – See Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)

The Lord would be attentive to your cries; I know this to be true, for He is the One who gave me hope when there was no one else. Believe in Him and, particularly during the worst of times, unceasingly engage His presence in prayer.  With open arms, He comes to the brokenhearted and “… saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – See Psalm 34:18 (NASB)

May you find peace in your life by reaching out in unyielding prayer to the One who listens to the faithful heart and gives it comfort.  We might struggle in this wilderness, but our time here is only temporary.  We are overcoming this wilderness when we draw close to God — the One who led His people to the promised land and whose Son succinctly promised, “… that whoever believes in Him [Jesus] shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – See John 3:16 (NASB)

Are you clinging to God’s guiding hand?

13 thoughts on “Overcome This Wilderness

  1. The hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus is a hymn that my congregation sings quit often ( I am in interim pastor at the moment) and they are the words that I use each week before prayer, the words are just so beautiful and it reminds us all to look towards our Risen Savior Jesus Christ and not the world, enjoy reading your post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This tells me much about the spirit of your congregation. You could surely discern that I originated in the traditional Church from decades ago, although I am not anywhere near an area where such a Church still exists. I was in 3rd grade when I first began to play a weekly role as an instrumentalist for worship service; I could play by ear and, since my parents knew that I could not see the hymns, they worked out an opportunity so that I could participate. So years of old hymns are as ingrained in me as the contemporary praise and worship music. There are newer songs that are as spirit-filled as the classics; because of my personal experience, I can distinguish a work of inspiration from a work of industry. But my heart mostly finds refuge in those golden-oldies. I love the tell the story of Jesus and His glory to the sound of Heavenly music.

      Thank you for being here and sharing with me. May God bless you and your ministry. I’m following your blog. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Jeff for following my blog I too enjoy both old and newer Christian songs, because this allows us as pastors to reach both young and old people in our congregation, and when we worship God in Spirit & Truth it truly doesn’t matter it is all about our hearts
        God Bless

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and I was not exaggerating earlier when I said of your recent message, “Powerful!” Certainly, you are discernibly NOT fake news! 😊 Looking forward to reading more from you. And I plan to do more of these pingbacks when I see opportunities to make those connections for our readers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. HALLELUJAH!!! Thank you Lord!!! My soul was submerged just now in the Spirit as I read this. God is wonderful. All praises to the Lord our God.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, let this be to glorify God who has inspired me. Bella, I have this overwhelming desire to share what He means to me; this is an understatement. Pray for me if you would. There is something that I must do here, and I can barely let up to get enough sleep. This ministry is not my full time job, but I would make it so when / if God opened the door. I have come so far without only the means God has given me.

      Liked by 1 person

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