Tuesday, May 29, 2012

After 40 days and nights in the desert, He was hungry.

I am writing this blog after having just completed my own 40 week period in the spiritual wilderness. It's been just over 40 weeks since my entire life collapsed around me and I found myself at absolute complete and utter rock bottom. You know you've sunk as low as you can go when you feel as if you have to look up to see the ground. I received some powerful revelations during August last year when all of this happened, and I've continued to persevere with working through what was shown to me at that time in order to start developing a strength and character I've simply never had before. It's taken just over 40 weeks to do this.

Towards the end of this journey, I began to think of the scripture Matthew 4:2 - "After fasting 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry." We continually hear a lot about trials as to how you need to persevere right through to the end of them and make sure you face what God wants you to face in that time, which of course is very true. However, there is another side to this story which you don't hear as often which is what I want to delve into here. Jesus was hungry when he came out of the desert. He'd been fasting 40 days and 40 nights. They could easily have left the fact that He was hungry out of the equation as most would simply assume anyone would be hungry after that long (Who wouldn't be?!) yet I believe there is a spiritual significance as to why it has been added into scripture.

When you've experienced trials as significantly as what I have over the years (and some of them have been brutal, to say the least) you almost begin to develop a siege mentality where you kind of want yourself to feel perfect and you expect that God's not going to let you out of the place of testing until you are absolutely perfect in every way, with every single need fulfilled, not even slightly tired or fatigued, completely at peace with everything in your life. I've developed this mentality a lot over the years due to everything that I've had to face (burnout, stomach ulcers, horrible working environments, and the list goes on) and this particular scripture is the one that has challenged my thinking recently.

When Jesus came out of the desert, He was hungry. He was the Son of God, spotless and without sin, able to endure anything set before Him, yet He was hungry. The bible doesn't say "After 40 days and 40 nights of fasting in the desert, Jesus emerged, but because He was such a spiritual powerhouse He didn't have any need for food or nourishment as He'd found it all in the desert, so He could start eating again whenever He wanted to but there was no desperate need for it." The bible says - He was hungry. I'll be willing to bet that the very first thing He did was go and find some food.

I'm learning that it's ok to be "hungry" so to speak after enduring trials. Hungry for things to get better, hungry for the favor of God at last, hungry to see the rainbow finally starting to emerge after the relentless storm. I am in a place of deep hunger at the moment after enduring a relentless season of trials and suffering, brought on through no fault of my own. To be honest I am not sure if I am completely ready to be "fed" yet, but I am very close. Though I am in a place of much deeper clarity and strength than ever before, I also cannot deny my weariness at having to endure so much over the years and my longing for the promised land which arrives once the wilderness season has been completed.

Being hungry isn't a bad thing and just because you are hungry for blessing after a season of wilderness does not mean that you haven't suffered and learned enough in the desert season. It simply means that you are human and it's quite natural. I believe God understands that. The world would die if there was just winter at all times. Yes the winter does serve its purpose - but for a season. It's not uncommon for people to begin to get sick of the cold and snow (depending on where you are) near the end of winter and yearn for the days of spring to approach. And that's where I am now. Although I can appreciate the winter, I am also looking forward to the spring very much. Which is completely natural.

So if you are reading this and are feeling how much you've changed during the winter season, but are looking forward to the spring, you're not alone. It's ok to be hungry after fasting from blessing in the desert for so long. God sees that and He understands, and He will bless you and fill your hunger once the time is right.

Take care.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Don't suffer in silence

This is one of the biggest things I have had to learn to face and overcome since being a Christian. It's been unbearably hard at times - to the point where I really just wanted to give up, but I knew that the only real way out was to keep going.

So much suffering in our lives is kept secret and under wraps from other people because we are afraid of what they might think or do to us if they ever found out. This mentality creates shallow, superficial relationships where people never truly get to know each other and are too afraid to share themselves with one another and therefore miss out on some of the best things relationships have to offer. As believers, God calls us into a deep place of wholeness and completion in order to be properly used for His Kingdom and simply because He loves us too much to leave us unhealed. This is where the whole concept of being open about our suffering while we are in the depth of the valley comes into play.

For years, I put up a false front and suffered terribly in silence because I didn't know how to explain to others what I was going through and I was afraid of trusting them with something I couldn't control. I planned to live my entire life like this, hiding and hiding until finally I was able to hide it so much it would be buried too deep to hurt anymore. Once I became a Christian, this was one of the first things God sought to change in me. He would put me in places of terrible suffering - for example jobs that I really hated or places I really struggled to live in and feel safe. The concept was always the same - the suffering I was experiencing could not be escaped from in any sense. There was no way out as there was no other way to pay the bills or nowhere else that I could live.

It was in many respects like being driven and driven until I was finally backed into a corner with nowhere else to go. The driving force into the corner was my own internal anguish driving me to run further and further into myself to escape from it, and the corner I was backed into was the unchangeable circumstances I was facing - such as my job or living environment. It was like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Something had to give - and it wasn't going to be the circumstances. God had set them in stone. So, it had to be me and my driven mentality that had to be broken.

I had to learn to seek God in a place of prayer to help give me insight into the deep tension that I was feeling as when you are driven that deeply into passive behavior as I was, you simply can't charge forwards and confess what is driving you because if you miss the point that is holding you back, you will feel like a rubber band is pulling against your soul, trying to restrain you from moving forwards as it's too dangerous. When I was faced with times like these, I realized I could not keep my suffering a secret any longer and that if I was to be free of the deep tension I was feeling, the answer was not to escape from my circumstances as I so desperately wanted to do, but to learn to identify and release the tension through honest prayer and confession which meant learning to trust and share my struggles with others.

The bible says in 1 John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness". It says that we must confess - not sit there and stew in silence and pretend that everything is ok while desperately planning our own escape from the circumstances which are causing us to feel this way as that will just end up taking us back to square one yet again. I believe this passage of scripture also applies to the deep hurt we feel in our lives that God wants to heal us of - if we confess our hurts, He will purify us.

It's a very hard place to be in and it can get very messy at times, especially when we are trying to get a handle on what we are feeling but just can't quite identify it. That's when we need the wisdom and insight of the Holy Spirit to help us define what we are feeling so that we can be free of it. Some of this wisdom and insight can only be given by God, and God alone. That's certainly true in my case which will be revealed in my soon to be released book, titled No Way Out But Through.

If you are suffering and stewing in silence today, your time to suffer in silence has come to an end. Find someone you can trust and talk to them. If they don't understand, find someone else. Learn to ask God to help you define what is happening in your own heart so that you can be released from it. It's the way that we grow and become stronger people, rather than continually going round in circles changing our circumstances when the answer all along, is within us.

Take care, and do check out my Facebook page which I've set up to support my book -


Hang in there. Don't give up. You don't have to suffer in silence any longer.