Not everyone’s wilderness looks the same. Yet the purpose of the journey through it is constant. We must emerge from it leaning on our Beloved, as Song of Songs 8:5 describes. Each of us who has had the privilege of being prepared by the Holy Spirit for our Bridegroom should be familiar with this word, even though in each case, the crucible is tailor-made for each one. It is designed to rid us of our fleshly ways and forge Christ-likeness in us…. and therefore it is a painful process, as the flesh dies screaming!
Heb 11:38 The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains and dens and caves of the earth…‘ This account in the Hebrews hall of faith chapter sounds otherworldly, and in our modern world, one doesn’t expect to come across people like those described. Yet, in the last two years, the Lord has been bringing me into contact with saints who are, or have been, homeless, sometimes for quite a long period. These were not the traditional stereotype of a beggar in tatters that arrives at your gate. Rather, the connection was made as brothers and sisters in the Lord and only afterwards did I discover their common history of homelessness. The Word tells us that Jesus had no place to rest His head and He must have depended on the hospitality of those who followed Him. Most of us have heard of the pastor who dressed up as a homeless person and sat on his church steps as the congregation walked in for the service. He received varying responses, but no-one invited him inside. Then he walked down the centre aisle and stood behind the pulpit and preached a sermon from James 2:1-10. How his congregants must have squirmed!
During my encounters with these people who had been homeless or still were, I felt the Lord wanted their stories to be told, as their intimate knowledge of the faithfulness of God and His mysterious ways would provide invaluable insight to the Bride of Christ. Without realizing it, as we walk through life, we take many paradigms on board that are not actually a true reflection of God’s outlook on life as a true believer. We develop mindsets about how God works or doesn’t work. And sometimes the doctrines of men gain more sway than we are aware of in our understanding of the Christian life. It would do all of us good as we enter the days of ever-increasing persecution on Believers, to read Hebrews 11 again and notice how much suffering and how little prosperity is actually linked to the lives of those of great faith. And we must prepare our hearts, for some of the greatest persecution will come from within the ranks of the organised church system. We must be able to still connect with our faithful Father, even if those who call themselves Christians throw us out for standing by what we believe the Word teaches and obeying God rather than man. He will never leave us or relax His hold on us – even when others do.
I was given the task of making just one such story available for those who find themselves in a wilderness, or are about to enter one. This e-book is the record of one family of four’s journey through 10 years of homelessness and trial, as they dared to throw their whole weight upon God’s faithfulness, and follow His leading, no matter the cost. The account challenges one’s narrow understanding of the forerunner path and what a price they pay in forging a path for others to follow. As the Bride looks at the difficult days which lie ahead in an ever-darkening world, these pages provide hard-earned wisdom and encouragement for those who have chosen the narrow path that leads to life. We owe them a debt for walking it – and being willing to share it! This family asked that their names be kept secret and they provided the somewhat picturesque pseudonyms!
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