I've been reading a lot about humility these past few weeks. God has been impressing on me my very great lack of it! But it hasn't been at all unpleasant...You know, only a gracious, loving God like mine could make something like learning humility something that fills my soul with joy and gives me a more confident assurance of His love!
I think the passage that most encouraged me during this study was Deuteronomy 8.
"And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your GOD has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD ...
...For the LORD your GOD is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth into valleys and hills.
...In the wilderness He fed you manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end."
I've been through a lot of wilderness, barren places. I don't mean that I've had a hard life, but many times my spiritual life has been extremely dry. I used to think those times meant God was unhappy with or disappointed in me, waiting for me to get my act together...but I don't think so any more.
Recently we had a ladies conference at my church and one of the speakers said something very poignant for me; she was speaking about Sarah, Abraham's wife and how her barrenness was viewed as a disgrace, God's disapproval even! And then she pointed out how we, today, often view our times of "barrenness" as God's disapproval when it's not!
God says He leads us through the wilderness to humble us and teach us that we need Him so that He can lead us to good places. So, the times I have been thinking were proof of God's disappointment were instead proof of God's most tender, unending love in offering me His own strength. How marvelous!