Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 15, 2017

our thinking yielded to His knowing

In taking a fresh look at the Red Sea experience over the last week, I was reminded that God led the children of Israel into an impossible situation. It was His design to take them to a very hard place and then part the waters. Scripture details other hard places, and one in particular has always fascinated me. Christ was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Talk about a hard place. I am so thankful that God has given us His Word to help us navigate our own Red Sea and wilderness seasons.

Everyone experiences hard places. They vary in degree, but no one is exempt. When our journey takes the unexpected turn to a place of difficulty, our minds respond with immediate questions. I am confident in God’s sovereignty, thankful for His grace, and sure of His love for me, but my logical self often cries out, “Why?!”  I want life to make sense. After all, I try to do things right, help others and honor Him. You may have some of the same struggles in trying to figure out God’s design for the hard places. My logical self thinks it knows best, when in reality God knows what is best. Growth for me (and you) comes when I begin to let my thinking become purposefully yielded to His knowing.

Scripture lists the temptation of Christ three times early in the New Testament. The passages relating to the temptation are instructive, and from a human perspective maybe a bit puzzling.  Think about it, God the Spirit led God the Son into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. On the surface, it made no sense. Just like when you and I encounter a hard place! But God always has a purpose.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.
Matthew 4:1 (NLT)

The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.
Mark 1:12-13 (NLT)

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness.
Luke 4:1 (NLT)

From my viewpoint, this would have been difficult beyond description. Christ stayed in the desert for forty days, fasted, was among the wild animals, and to top it off, was tempted by Satan. At least one of the great benefits from this hard place was the model every true Christ-follower has been given to thwart the attacks of Satan. Christ used God’s Word against Satan … and so can we. God’s design for Christ always had a purpose, and so it is with us.

You may have already hit a hard place this year. Did your logical self begin with the questions? Mine has! To be honest, our humanity pretty much guarantees the “Why?!” questions. God understands this, but I think the bigger question is … Does God (who knows what is best) have the right to direct our journeys to the wilderness, or for that matter to the Red Sea? Of course He does! It is my opinion that His good purpose for all Christ-followers will involve hard places. That truth does not make the hard places any easier to navigate or endure, but when our thinking is purposefully yielded to His knowing, we will have greater perspective and more peace.

Sometimes the hard places are born out of our own failures. At other times, the Father leads us into a hard place to stretch and grow our faith. Regardless of why we are in the desert, our Father will give grace and guidance. When we hurt, He cares. His purpose is always good–even when our hard place doesn’t make sense in the midst of it. Accept that you will sometimes be overwhelmed with emotions that ask, “Why?!” In those times, call out to Him and purposefully yield your thinking to His knowing.

And remember what happened at the Red Sea and in the wilderness!



  1. I have seen this post up here for a few days now. Haven’t read it till now. Now I know why. I needed to hear that this morning. Not yesterday, nor the day before. God is so good! Always giving you what you need just when you need it… Thanks for what you do on this site. 🙂

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