(By: Norm Rasmussen)

My wife, Kathleen, and I watched an impacting movie on Netflix last evening called: The Trail. It's about a young woman who becomes lost in the wilderness on her trip west to California during the mid-1800 gold rush days. My brother, Dale Rasmussen, encouraged us to watch it and share with him what we thought, if we cared to.

I could say a number of things about the movie, but a few things stands out in it to me above all else: Most of us Christians are tested in this life through various trials that push us right to the edge with God where we are tempted to feel like He has abandoned us -- forsaken us -- as the girl in the movie painfully experiences. I've been there a number of different times during my life as a born again Christian. I would wish it to happen to no one, but I've grown to realize that most Christians will be tested, some more than others - by the express will of God, that has ETERNAL RAMIFICATIONS regarding them. Few Christians escape these painful 'Lost in the Spiritual Wilderness' experiences. 

The girl eventually gives up hope of ever making her way to civilization and chooses to die. I won't give away what happens once she makes this decision. 

But something became crystal clear to me after watching the movie that motivates me to write this to try to help others who may be going through a 'Lost in the Spiritual Wilderness' themselves. Here it is:

We all lose hope from time to time. God will purposely see to it. It is part of His test for us. Yet the KEY to surviving our 'hopelessness test' is to refuse to give up TRUSTING God, though it may cost us our very life on this planet. 

The GREATEST reason God tests many of us with a 'hopelessness test' is to see if we are going to turn our back on Him as a Christian believer, and essentially quit putting our hope in Him again.

But giving up hope in Him is NOT the same as giving up TRUSTING Him!

Carefully observe what Proverbs 3:5-6 DOESN'T say: 

HOPE in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding; acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will direct your path.

Hope is what we want God doing for us. Trust is relinquishing what we want God to do for us and resting in what He decides is best for us. Most of us won't learn the wisdom in doing so (Blindly trusting Him when all hope seems to have died) until we've had enough 'Lost in the Spiritual Wilderness' trials and have survived them.

Hope is not a decision -- Trust is

Don't brush past that lightly, dear one. Hope is an emotion, as is hopelessness. Trust requires us to make a decision. But a CRUCIALLY CRITICAL decision that brings hope out of hopelessness, and we must never allow the spiritual life-sustaining emotion of hope to turn to hopelessness, because it DESTROYS our will to keep trusting! (It can quickly destroy our desire to keep LIVING period if we allow hopelessness to consume us for very long!)

[The spiritual cancer of hopelessness also destroys the spiritual life-sustaining emotion of JOY. When we lose our joy, it TOO becomes a spiritual cancer that will drain our will to keep trusting].

When we are right on the edge of being tempted to stop trusting the Lord because our hope seems nearly gone - or we believe it's totally gone - The Spirit of God will enable us to cry out to our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus with this pleading request:

"Lord, help me to KEEP trusting You though it may cost me everything I would like You doing for me!"

"I give my anger and hopelessness to You in this matter and ask You to give me Your peace. I also give you my hopelessness and joylessness for the spiritual weapons of praise and thanksgiving unto You."

It's the ONLY way I know of to enable us to pass the 'SEEMINGLY Lost in the Spiritual Wilderness' test and position ourselves for the reward God wants to give us for passing: When and how He decides to reward us.

As each of us go through times of trial where it "seems" to us that "Evidently God can't be bothered with me -- maybe He's even forgotten my name?," ... here is TRUE REALITY: God knows where EVERY one of His created beings are at any given time, and He's fully aware of our pain. He knows YOUR name, and yes indeed He wants YOUR deepest affection -- difficult as it may be at times to even WANT to give it to Him any longer -- because you are THAT SPECIAL to Him. And BECAUSE you are that special to Him, He wants you to know that the trials of this life that He purposely allows are making you into a priceless supernatural creation of His unlike any other. None of us can prove differently, for as God reminds and assures us:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  (2 Cor. 4:16-18)

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake. 

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


JESUS DID IT! and...


Remember:  All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)