Hope in the Wilderness
[A Guest Post by Cassandra Shepherd]
Guest Post by Cassandra Shepherd
It’s not often all of our plans are so thoroughly thwarted, our freedom so collectively restrained, our daily life so completely disrupted on a global scale…
We are in a communal time of massive transition because of the pandemic. Nothing in the world is ‘normal’ anymore. People’s daily routines have had to change. There is a level of unprecedented anxiety on a global scale, and so much that seemed predictable is now very uncertain.
There is so much that is painful, and there is a profound sense of loss.
It has been more than 5 weeks since we last saw my husband Richard: he was due back in Singapore last week, but his flight was cancelled and there is no way for him to return for now. So he’s ‘camping’ in our empty house, in lockdown, in New Zealand. All our belongings are packed in boxes… which have been sitting in our moving company’s warehouse for 5 weeks, waiting for the lockdown to be lifted in NZ. My daughter Jessi and I are camping in our almost-empty house, under strict stay-home rules as part of Singapore’s Circuit Breaker measures to contain COVID-19. We just got the news we will not be able to fly to NZ as planned on May 7, and our lease ends on May 15, after which we’ll be kind of homeless. And just recently, a friend in his 40s passed away in hospital, so suddenly.
I poured out all my stress and grief to God on my morning walk. Amid all my worries over all the uncertainties and my sense of helplessness, He began to remind me that He knows every day of my life – each one is already written in His book.
He orders my steps. He invites me to cast my cares upon Him, for He cares for me.
He asked me to trust Him with my days and the timings of when I left Singapore and when I got to New Zealand. He asked me if I could trust Him that the costs for storing our stuff were in His hands, and He will supply all our needs. Could I let go of trying to control everything and figure out all the variables (which change all the time anyway!) and trust Him?
And as I began to focus on these eternal truths instead of the ‘situation’ and to choose to trust Him, a peace that passes understanding flooded my heart – like a river of peace washing over me.
Nothing changed. But everything changed!
I know He is in this, working everything for good.
Nothing changed – everything is still uncertain… but I am certain of this: the One who holds my future in His hands can be trusted.
I was then able to begin to really pay attention to how I am responding to my circumstances and to ask: ‘What can I learn in this season? What unhelpful thought patterns and mindsets are surfacing? What makes me most uncomfortable about this new reality I’m living in? What limiting beliefs am I living under? What liberating truth can I embrace instead?’
I took time to consider Jesus and His journey to the Cross over Easter week. How can His response inspire me to change at this time? How does His life convict me at this time?
Resilience is the ability to recover quickly, to bounce back from difficulties – may I develop a greater depth of resilience in this season. Hard times and wilderness seasons are opportunities to experience God in deeper ways and learn more about ourselves.
God is with us on the journey. He wants to turn our hearts toward Him, to woo us like a lover and speak tenderly to us at this time.
“And now, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to start all over again. I’m taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I’ll court her. I’ll give her bouquets of roses. I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope. She’ll respond like she did as a young girl, those days when she was fresh out of Egypt.” Hosea 2:14-15 (MSG)
Father, You are the Potter, I am the clay. I choose to yield to Your loving hands, even if it is painful. Even if I do not understand. I turn to you with all my heart.
Cassandra is the Director of International Relations for the Institute of Cultural Communicators. After spending her growing up years on sheep and cattle farms in New Zealand, she completed a degree in Management Studies with a focus on Organisational Development and Change. Her experiences in the army, the agriculture industry, farm education, business lending as a relationship manager, living abroad, and in educating her own children make her uniquely qualified as a mentor and leader. She enjoys networking with people from different cultures and helping people to catch a vision for the possibilities God has in store for them and their families.