“God led you through the wilderness…to prove your character.” Dt 8:2 NLT

God led the children of Israel through the wilderness: “to prove [their] character, and…find out whether or not [they] would obey his commandments.” They could choose to perish there, or trust Him to bring them safely to the Promised Land. One author writes: “How many times have you changed courses in life, rather than pass the test and get through the tough stuff to the promises of God? He wants to know if you are worthy of the blessing that awaits you on the other side of the Jordan. Do you have the courage to face the challenges, or will you go back and settle for second best? If you’re facing a challenge that stands between you and your promise…look at Joshua 1:9 and Daniel 10:19 for courage. Ask God to give you the courage to face whatever hurdles stand in the way of your claiming what God has prepared for you.” The landscape along Florida’s Everglades is dotted with wiry, primitive-looking trees known as Caribbean Pines. They thrive in a rugged environment, can withstand prolonged periods of drought and fire, and hold their own against the fiercest hurricanes. In fact, if you plant them in a cultivated setting they usually shrivel and die. Joni Eareckson Tada says: “Like Caribbean Pines, our souls usually don’t thrive during good times. Our hearts grow complacent, our need of God becomes less urgent, our hope of heaven dims, and our prayer life dries up…in a beautiful setting with our needs met and every resource at our fingertips…our soul shrivels…We need an occasional blast of storm or fiery trial if our faith is to mature.”