The outside world does not feel like a very inviting place to be at present.  Footpaths are still very muddy with many areas still flooded.  This has been continuous since December and it’s now the middle of March. The constant news is overwhelming and everywhere; on the television, internet and conversations with friends, with the added threat of lockdown becoming more of a reality. Everyone is panic buying and shops are struggling to cope with the demand.  It feels as though the world has gone quite mad!

I am normally excited about going out walking in the countryside but I seemed to be walking the dog along the local streets and not seeing anything exciting or sensing the presence of God in my walks as the only thing on my mind is this virus.

On Sunday we had a very moving sermon preached by Sally the Outreach Minister on “The dark night of the soul”.  In dark times when we feel that the closeness and presence of God is distant, we can feel abandoned.  It is during this wilderness place that God is working on something amazing in our lives.  Sally spoke of three important points that firstly, we should not panic, we just need to trust in God.  Secondly, that we need to wait, God does things in his time not ours.  Patience is a fruit of the spirit, which I find the hardest to grasp.  Thirdly, during this time in our wilderness our faith will grow. 

When our soul feels empty, life feels dark, we need to pray and continue to pray.  Through our wilderness journey we need to trust and lean on God more than ever.  He is faithful and working around us, through us and in us.  We need to rest in his arms; in the stillness we will hear his voice, a whisper telling us that we are loved, and He is right there. In time we will become resilient and even be able to use our experiences to help others, God always has a plan for us.  Trusting and waiting is what we need to do. When we start to panic, we can take the course of action into our own hands.  Instead pray and reach out to God for guidance and keep doing this, until you hear his voice.

I went for a walk after the sermon and came across a clearing in the woods which is being coppiced.  It felt so bare, bleak and deserted, the words from Sally’s sermon really made me pause and breathe in God as I felt he was all around me.  I felt a stirring of joy as I knew God was always with me.  Whatever we are going through, we do not need to be afraid.

In Deuteronomy 31:8 (GNT) we read, “The Lord himself will lead you and be with you.  He will not fail you or abandon you, so do not lose courage or be afraid.”

Dear Lord, our Father, we thank you that you meet us in our wilderness.  We may feel abandoned but as we lean on you, we get to experience your true love and for that we truly praise you Lord.

I pray today that for those of us that are worried about this current situation that is dominating all of our lives that we reach out to you in prayer and hand over all our worries to you Lord, fill us with your love and hope for the future. Amen

Maxine Hallett is based in Kent and works for her local church, Tonbridge Baptist Church.? Read her devotionals in Woman Alive or find her Walking with God Facebook page