God’s plan for the people of Israel was only for their good, yet they wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years on what was actually an 11-day journey. Why? Was it their enemies, their circumstances, the trials along the way, or something entirely different that kept them from arriving at their destination in a timely manner?
To really know the answer to this question, let’s look back a little. God had called the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt to go to the land He had promised to give them as a perpetual inheritance—a land that flowed with milk, honey and every good thing they could imagine—a land in which there would be no shortage of anything they needed—a land of prosperity in every realm of their existence.
But the Israelites had no positive vision for their lives—no dreams. They knew where they came from, but they didn’t know where they were going. Everything was based on what they had seen in the past or what they could presently see—they didn’t know how to see the future with eyes of faith.
We really shouldn’t view the Israelites with astonishment, because most of us unknowingly do the same thing they did; we keep dealing with the same problems over and over again. The disappointing result is that it takes us years to experience victory over something that could have and should have been dealt with quickly.
I come from a background of abuse. My childhood was filled with fear and torment, and my personality was a mess! I built up walls of protection to keep people from hurting me, not realizing that while I was locking others out, I was also locking myself in. I was filled with fear, and believed that the only way I could face life was to be in control so no one could hurt me.
As a young adult trying to live for Christ and follow the Christian lifestyle, I knew where I had come from, but I didn’t know where I was going. I felt that my future would always be marred by my past. I thought, How could anyone with a past like mine ever be all right? It’s impossible!
But Jesus had a different plan. He said, The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me . . . to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity] (Luke 4:18).
Jesus came to open the prison doors and set the captives free—and that included me. However, I did not make any progress until I started to believe that I really could be set free. I had to get rid of my negative thinking and replace it with a positive vision for my life—God’s vision for me. I had to believe that neither my past nor my present could determine my future. Only then could Jesus free me from the bondage of my past—and free me, He did. Looking back, I realize what a miracle that was!
You may have had a miserable past; you might even be in current circumstances that are extremely negative and depressing. You may be facing situations that are so bad it seems you have no real reason to hope. But I say to you boldly: Your future is not determined by your past or your present!
Most of the generation the Lord called out of Egypt never entered into the Promised Land. Instead, they died in the wilderness. To me, this is one of the saddest things that can happen to a child of God—to have so much available and yet never be able to enjoy any of it.
Start believing that God’s Word is true. Mark 9:23 reminds you that with God all things are possible. Because you serve a God who created everything you see out of the unseen realm (see Hebrews 11:3), you can give Him your nothingness and watch Him go to work on your behalf. All you have to do is have faith in Him and believe His Word—He will do the rest!
Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for loving me and having a vision—a good plan—for my life. Please help me overcome any negative mindsets that are keeping me from the future You have for me, and make my life what You want it to be. In Jesus’ name, amen.