Fight for Your Family When Life Isnt As It Should Be
by Brian Haynes
We can’t even imagine how good life was for the first humans. It was paradise and it was peace. The man and the woman were placed by God in a garden called Eden, meaning “paradise.” Everything needed for life flowed perfectly from Eden. Perfect paradise and perfect peace. This is the first garden and this is life as it was designed to be lived.
There is another garden; a garden of shalom. This garden is in our future. We aren’t there yet but it is promised. In the book of Revelation, John describes a vision of the future given to him by Jesus. After generations of life in the wilderness, a new day, the Great Day, brings with it a second garden with some similarities to Eden only this one is called “Yeru Shalayim.” Translated, “City of Peace.” The New Jerusalem is a perfect city of peace. Life will FINALLY be as it should be.
Between the gardens, Eden (Paradise) and New Jerusalem (Peace), there is only the desert; a biblical metaphor for life and the place we are loving and leading our family, our spouse, our children, and our grandchildren. But life is not as it should be. We are in between two gardens. We are in a war in the wilderness. This is the desert called life.
There are three main words used in the Hebrew language to describe the desert: midbar, t’siyah, and yashiymown. The words represent three kinds of deserts and metaphorically three kinds of life-experience most of us are forced to navigate during our time walking the planet. The first type of desert and perhaps the most livable is “midbar.” This type of desert is one in which you can survive if you know what you are doing.
Midbar can be treacherous especially if you are inexperienced or lack guidance but you can survive there. As it compares to life, midbar is basically what we call, normal. Still, it is not exactly right. It is not as it should be. It is about as good as it gets outside the garden of Eden. In a midbar, there is sickness and sin. There is pain. Evil exists. Consequences are real and you have to work to make it but you can survive in midbar.
The second type of wilderness is t’siyah. This is a desert in which you can survive if you have help. This is deeper, darker, hotter, and even more chaotic. You need help to trek this part of life and survive. There are moments and even seasons of life full of drought and deep darkness. There are times in life when the soul of your family is scorched. We walk this land in life. In the t’siyah parts of life, you can’t survive unless you have help.
There is yet a third kind of life occurring even deeper in the wilderness. Yashiymown is desert you cannot survive. Yashiymown is wild, unbearable, and unfit for dwelling. In this time of life, only the presence of God and a miracle of God will sustain life.
As parents and grandparents, husbands and wives, we will lead our families through all aspects of the wilderness in a lifetime. It’s not just that there are difficult parts of life. It’s more complicated than that. It is wilderness but it is also war. According to the scriptures we have a real enemy, Satan, bent on accomplishing his mission to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). The adversary’s mission is why we sometimes battle intense spiritual warfare in the most wild and chaotic parts of the desert called life.
You will know it when you are going through it. Mental health struggles such as depression, anxiety, or addiction may be your indicator. The real consequences of personal sin or the impacts of the sins of another may wound you deeply. Addiction might shackle someone in your family spiritually, emotionally, and physically causing warlike chaos. Other trauma, no fault of your own, may hit you like a dart of the enemy. Life circumstances might simply be difficult and relentless seemingly designed to destroy you, someone your love, or your family. All of these are signs of the war in the wilderness.
The good news is, there is a way to fight when life isn’t as it should be. First understanding God as the One who rides through the deserts (Psalm 68:4), is your provision, and has ultimately and completely defeated the enemy gives us the foundation of faith we need in order to fight. I love how God describes himself for us in desert pictures that illustrate exactly what and who we need in the wilderness war. He is our refuge. He is the shade at our right hand. He is our living water. He is our Good Shepherd guiding us through even the valley of the shadow of death. Learning to trust him moment by moment in the hardest places of the desert and the most intense parts of the spiritual battle is rooted in knowing who He is.
There are many ways we fight back in the wilderness war but the most important act of dependence is to fight back in prayer. One thing we know from Scripture, when God’s children cry out to Him, He hears their prayers. Sometimes, He rescues us instantly. Many times, He goes through the wilderness and He fights the battle with us. Our family has been to war in the wilderness. We have the wounds to prove it. I remember finding myself laying on my driveway on a hot summer night crying out to God in anger, in pain, questioning even His goodness. He was patient with me. He never left me. He gave our family just enough each day. Looking back, He saw us through. Honest, even childlike, specific prayer is crucial as we fight.
Life between the gardens is a desert. It’s all challenging but some parts of it are almost impossible. Sometimes we feel as if we will bleed out in the battle. I’m reminded of this Psalm of David, a man, a husband, a father, a king, who certainly knew the war in the wilderness.
Psalm 61:1-3 Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
Would you like to read more? Get my new book, “War In the Wilderness: Fight For Your Family When Life Isn’t As It Should Be.”