Summer Reading for Grown Ups: Beauty in the Wilderness

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

 WHAT? Joy? There’s joy here in these woods?

Yes, as you survive these “uncertain times,” there is joy. I mean, you may not see it for the trees, but it’s there. 

I’ve survived some difficult seasons in the past, and as crazy as it sounds, I recall them with warmth. During the recession, my late husband, Dan, lost his job. It seemed like an impossibility that we’d make it through that season unscathed.

Down to one income, mine, and I was not the primary bread winner, we wondered how the car payment and mortgage would be met. We announced to the kids that a “dinner out” would happen rarely, and it would happen on $5 pizza night. Five bucks. That’s the budget for dinners out.

We had been so spoiled before, and by many standards, still were. But the financial strain caused that season to feel heavy. Dan was out of work for eight months.

But the memories of the $5 pizza nights? Priceless.

We looked forward to that pizza night: a pepperoni pizza so greasy it should have a warning label, sharing our “highlight of the day,” around the table, smiles, laughter.

These are now great memories! I believe that is because God’s provision over our family even in that time was palpable. And, He brought us through it. Not a payment missed. Unbelievable. And, pizza nights.

So, there’s joy to be found in those deep wooded areas.

And, things grow in the valleys. There’s also something to gain, to learn.

I learned to shop at Aldi, and that dinners out were a luxury, and that family time is the most precious commodity. I still hold tight to those things. I will always shop at Aldi.

In, “God Where are You?!” John Bevere writes:

“As I am writing this, I am now in my last year of my fifties – how did THAT happen? Looking back, I now realize that my times of Wilderness were the greatest times of growth in my life, though at the time I felt like I was receding, not advancing.

 I would estimate that ninety percent of what I’ve written I learned not in times of abundance, but in the dry times spent in the Wilderness.

 So my advice to you: Take good notes when you are in the desert! What you learn in these seasons will become a great strength to others, including the older YOU.”

Pick up John Bevere’s book, “God, Where are You?!” and read it with us! For more reviews on great books, and a chance to win a free copy, check out


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