• Angela M Coon

Wilderness Songs

My 90 year old Mom called this morning and during our conversation she started singing the words to an old song we used to sing, “The Lord knows the way through the wilderness.” Instantly I was translated to my teen years when we were going through very tough times and we would sing this song on our way home from church. I have to admit that tears came to my eyes as I remembered the next words.

I asked my Mom,, do you remember the rest of the song? She immediately answered, “all you have to do is follow.” Faith instantly arose in my heart as I remembered God's faithfulness in the past. God's gentle reminder -- just keep following me. It's my battle. It's my working. I do all things well."

When you don’t know the way through your wilderness God does, just follow close and He’ll get you out into wide, open spaces, eventually.

I’m sure you’ve been in a wilderness whether you called it one or not. It’s a difficult place where you don’t see an answer, don’t know the way through it, things are out of your control and you don’t know what to do. The darkness can feel palatable, the maze of underbrush trip you up at every move. The situation seems impossible at the time and everything within you quakes.

Just as God saw the Israelites through the wilderness and into their promised land He will get us through our wilderness. Of course, it took the Israelites forty years to make it through because of their lack of faith, disobedience and down right rebellion. They panicked and questioned God and authority, “why have you brought us out here to die? It would have been better to stay in Egypt.” In case you don’t remember, Egypt was captivity.

But if we’re honest, we’re rather be anywhere than in our wilderness. We desperately want to be delivered – to escape the pain, the unknown.

I Googled the rest of the words to the song and watched it on Youtube. It simply said, “Strength for today is mine all the way, and all that I need for tomorrow. The Lord knows the way through the wilderness and all you have to do is follow.”

It’s the following God that we complicate. Unfortunately, we get stuck going around in circles of anxiety, distracted off paths of “what if’s” and stuck in the quick sand of fear. It’s so easy to do anything but follow or keep walking through our days trusting. Fear and anxiety seems to hijack the better response and we do anything but trust.

As I thought about this, the next song started playing and some of you will remember it; “God will make a way where there seems to be no way.” I can remember when this song was my source of comfort and hope through another wilderness in the 90’s. You see, I’ve been through many wildernesses and made it through.

Immediately after this song, I heard the music for a more contemporary song begin “Slow down, take time. Breath in, He said He’d reveal what’s to come… Take courage my heart, Stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting.”

I love how God gives His people songs through all time to help us through the difficult times. Deep spiritual truths to hang onto so we won’t get lost in the wilderness. Words of comfort. Words of hope. Words of instruction. Words to hang onto to as we follow Him through the wilderness.

And you who hold the stars

Who call them each by name

Will surely keep, Your promise to me

That I will rise, in your victory.”

In the Body of Christ we are all different ages with different preferences for music styles which can cause some consternation. As one who has been through many decades of changing styles and mediums of songs for contemplation and worship, I’ve learned there’s a simple truth. The songs, chords tempos and words may change but the message is the same “The Lord knows the Way through the Wilderness” turns into “God Will Make a Way” and now into Take Courage -- He’s in the waiting.

The songs from decades past have great memories and remind me of great victories. When my Mom reminded me of that song this morning, faith arose and comfort surrounded me. However, that song was for that time and experience - for then, not now. God gives us new songs to sing, new songs to inspire and guide us through our journey of following Him to fit where we are now.

The truth is the same: Just keep your eyes on God, He’ll get you through this difficulty, this tough time – He knows the way. You can trust Him. Breathe in His Presence and power to make it through one step at a time, one day at a time.

What song is God giving you in the middle of your wilderness?

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