Wilderness Literally

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Promised of the Lord’s glory, it was hence a shock when 14 days before the Crossover Camp, a minor misunderstanding blew out of proportion between the couple and their parents. They had to leave their parent’s home – and became homeless. That was when they realised that the wilderness verse from Mark 1:12 first given to them when they sold their home – is to be meant literally.

The family of 3 began shuttling in and out of Johor Bahru. By the 6th day, they had crossed in and out of JB at least twice. In one of the temporary locations in SG, the place was so dirty that they had to wash the bed sheet upon arrival. Just when they wanted to hang the laundered sheet, they discovered there were no poles clean enough for them to hang on it. They also had to wash the toilet which did not have working lights and hot water. Finally, when they decided to change to another location, the wheel of their 20+kg luggage got dislodged. This marks the type of events that followed them in wilderness. Each new place that they shifted to, there would be some lingering hope that perhaps the Lord’s glory was awaiting to manifest – nothing would happen instead. Wilderness is a mundane, tiresome process meant to wear us out. There is no meaning you can look forward to in the midst of it, though, there is a bigger purpose throughout the whole process, as Deuteronomy points out:

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. – Deut 8:2

By now Leo and Roxanne realised that while the title of the upcoming Worldview Camp is Crossover, God wanted the focus of the camp to be about the “wilderness”. Wilderness precedes crossover. Before the Israelites can make the cross over, their hearts needed to be tested – and prepared.

And just when they thought that was it to the testing. A day before the Camp commenced, Leo and Roxanne received an unexpected call from the hotel manager. He informed  them that there will be a power outage on the first day of the camp. What?! Leo was obviously upset as he had deliberately chosen a 4-star hotel to avoid such problems. But Roxanne soon reminded him – this is all part of wilderness. It soon dawn upon them that God wanted the campers to experience wilderness personally as well, since He wanted the camp to be a preparation of hearts for the campers.

When the campers arrived after a tedious jam at the causeway to find themselves at a hotel with dimmed lights, non-functioning air-condition, having to make do with their afternoon lessons at a public lounge, most of them were visibly displeased. However, Leo shared with them about the story their wilderness, and how wilderness was to be the focus of the Crossover Camp, the campers were touched and aligned with the purposes of God. God’s glory came evidently and powerfully, fulfilling His promise when He showed Leo and Roxanne the rainbow when they prayed about the Crossover. The “wilderness” focus – the need for all to humble and prepare our hearts through the tests He allows – became a deeply felt, heart-transforming message the campers brought home from the Crossover Camp.

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