Have you ever watched a movie, read a book or played a game and thought it reminded you of life?
When my kids got Zelda for the Nintendo Switch I was enchanted. Not just from the beautiful world that was created but the unique puzzles that were set up. What’s amazing is the diversity in these puzzles. In Zelda, Breath of the Wild, you have 4 tools (called runes) you could use to solve these puzzles to help you get stronger.
As you play the game you come across these puzzles. Although the game itself is non-linear, many of the puzzles become progressively more difficult as you advance. The more you play the stronger you get and the harder the puzzles get (in general).
There are several puzzles that you could solve using a variety of combinations of these tools. For example, in one instance there is a room that feels very “Indian Jones” inspired, with these large boulders coming at you. Solving this puzzle requires patience, timing and using a combination of the tools you’ve gained already through the game.
Life Is Like A Game
If our life was a video game it might be a bit like Zelda. We face challenges or puzzles in each season of our life. Often the solution to move forward in this season isn’t going to be the solution that worked last time. However, it might be something that you earned from the last season that helps you solve this problem. Each puzzle builds experience for the next one. The constant challenge and pressure of the game keep us focused on the solution.
Our Wilderness Experience Gives Us Tools To Solve The Next Puzzle
The keyword here is experience. My life hasn’t gone at all how I planned it, however, I have experiences that have helped me now. I would have never chosen to be a real estate agent. That experience, however, has taught me how to be a better communicator and negotiator. It introduced me to aspects of learning and taught me things about myself.
When the Israelites went through their famous wilderness experience the younger generation was learning how to follow on God. This generation was going to be led by a man named Joshua. He was sent to spy on that land and came back with a good report. How devastating it must have been when God decided that the next generation was the one to inherit the land. At this time he didn’t know he was to lead this next generation.
He learned from watching Moses. He had to learn patience and how to deal with disappointment. In the end, an entire book of the Bible was written about how God miraculously provided victory after victory. None of these victories would have been possible without his complete submission.
Problems Give Us Solutions
While a wilderness often develops resilience and patience there are often specific lessons that come from that time. In Joshua’s case there were many lessons from the wilderness. In one case, there were some men prophesying. These men were seen as rivals, even though they were “doing good.” Given the unrest of the Israelites, it’s easy to see what leadership would want to be unified in vision. Most leaders would want to shut down these prophets, even if what they were doing was good, for the sake of clarity around the vision.
That’s exactly what Joshua thought as well. In Numbers 11:24-29, the account unfolds. Read how Moses responds,
“Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”
How many of us would respond to rivals this way?
It’s hard to imagine anyone outside of a Christian context saying this. Yet, I’ve seen this message of non-comparison be popular. Today, when every interaction on social media is one of comparison. This is a huge lesson. Not just “stop comparing yourself to others,” but as Christians, “may they be blessed as much as we are!” Jesus even takes it a step further.
Joshua took this lesson to heart. Joshua’s life wasn’t perfect but after this instance you never read of an uprising against his leadership. Is it possible that we never heard about the rivals, not because they didn’t exist, but because the were inconsequential to Joshua and his mission?
My contention is that each challenge you faced in your life, each hardship has given you new tools with which to complete your mission and help others.
Pressure Keeps Us Focused On Him
There are times when it seems like I go from one problem to the next. I’ve learned that when trouble strikes that it creates pressure. That pressure keeps me focused on Him. I don’t like trouble, or the wilderness times but I know that it produces fruit. I know that it turns my heart back to God and He equips me to take on the next challenge. Like a video game, I’m getting stronger and I’m getting more tools with which to battle the enemy and complete the mission.
What lessons have you learned from your last wilderness season?