The wilderness

In the previous devotional, I shared Mark Sayers’ idea that we are at the start of a new era of human history.*

We aren’t there yet. In fact, we have one foot in the previous era, and one foot stepping into the emerging era.

He calls this present moment a “gray zone.” There is increased uncertainty, anxiety, and complexity.

In biblical terms, he calls it a wilderness. I resonate with this idea. After all, the wilderness is a place of testing and refining. And that certainly feels like now!

I was recently reading about how the Hebrews had to wander in the wilderness for forty years, and about why they had to go through that. Deuteronomy 8:2 provides clarity: “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”

God would deliver them into the Promised Land, but not until they were ready. “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you” (verse 5).

What if we were in a kind of modern-day wilderness—not with barren hills and open skylines, but with the same level of uncertainty?

What if we too were being humbled? (Lord knows we need it.) What if we too were being tested to see what was in our hearts, whether or not we would keep God’s commands?

It’s hard to say what lies ahead, but I find Sayers’ theory compelling. Uncertainty seems certain.

Either way, humility and faithfulness are on the menu.

As you head out into the fog, you’re always headed in the right direction when your hand is in the hand of God.


–*Mark Sayers, A Non-Anxious Presence: How a Changing and Complex World Will Create a Remnant of Renewed Christian Leaders (Chicago, Moody Publishers, 2022).

–“In a new and uncertain era, what is our stronghold and purpose?” Sermon. July 17, 2022. Click here.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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