The Season of Preparation
by Dr. John Tetsola

    2And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

    Deuteronomy 8:2

In order to perfect His purposes, God uses time spent in the wilderness as testing ground to reveal our hearts in seasons of preparation for His servants. The wilderness speaks of a barren, lonely, and deserted place bereft of all comforts. It is a place where inner needs become magnified without inner consolation, where prophetic words are put to the test, and where your faith has the potential of being seduced from its allegiance and trust in God. The wilderness is a place that either breeds trust or distrust of the spoken promises of God over your life. It will either make or break your faith. The wilderness was the place and season of preparation where our Lord Jesus could have lost His battle to save all of mankind.

God has never been known to promote giftings. He only promotes character. God is more concerned with the production of our character than He is with our comfort. This kind of character is not developed overnight, but is developed during seasons of preparation. Many believers have had problems developing past the point of identifying and fulfilling their specific calling in the Lord. Some may identify their call, but then fail to prepare for their ministries. Still others receive their calling and proceed into the preparation period, but fail in the process. Unfortunately, some believers die in the wilderness at some point in their development because they never surrendered and embraced their season of preparation.

    5Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?

    Song of Solomon 8:5

The ultimate goal of the wilderness is that its attendants come into the place of leaning and "submissive dependence" upon Jesus, our Beloved. Leaning signifies humble submission to the process of God, while trusting Him for the promised outcome. It is the only acceptable route out of the wilderness, and is proof that we have become pliable to the making process of God. Many believers are going through their wilderness experience and season of preparation right now. The growth and maturity of every believer is decided during these seasons of preparation.

Look at the manufacturing process in a factory and let's draw an analogy. A factory is a place where goods are made with machinery. These products undergo a multifaceted process before the end-product is approved, released, and distributed. This process is known as manufacturing which literally means "to make by hand." The processing step follows. It includes cleaning, cutting, pureeing, dehydrating, persevering, etc. In the processing stage, God begins a character work in us. He begins to expose the impurities in us so that they may be dealt with. Then comes the packaging step. Too often Christians attempt to package themselves without submitting to every level of God's making processes, and they fail to sell. They reach the distribution stage damaged and below acceptable market value because they did not make it through the wilderness-the physical, external, and environmental influences.

God begins His making process with "raw" materials. At each stage in His factory, He works the ingredients with His own hands, investing them with His qualities, grace-given abilities, talents, and anointing. The Master Packager knows when the preparation is complete and made ready to be released to the consumers-the people of God. Allow yourself to go through God's factory, for it is only in His factory where we can be made. While some spurn their season of preparation, we should learn to appreciate it and emerge from our wilderness leaning upon the Lord with newfound faith and deeper levels of trust and dependency upon the Lord.

Determine to emerge from your season of preparation without a spirit of impatience and distrust, leaning upon your Beloved. Learn to renew and keep the present fresh in your life, and refuse the unnecessary rendezvous and pit-stops of 2009. Redeem the time and determine not to turn a ten day journey into a forty year trip. While living in a day when men's hearts are failing them for fear of what's coming upon the earth, and in the midst of the natural disasters and the threat of a bird flu pandemic of 2009, guard against the fainting spell of your mind in 2010. Isaiah 26:3 reveals that while God is committed to keep you in perfect peace, you have the responsibility of keeping your mind stayed on Him. So "let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." In this New Year, recognize the need to keep your heart with all diligence. Face and embrace 2010 with a heart that is affirmed in God, and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and cowardly unsettled. Fill your mind with heavens' thoughts and refuse to think only about things down here on the earth. And most of all, recognize that there is only one route out of your wilderness and season of preparation, and that is the route of leaning in utter dependence upon God.