GOD KNOWS THE WANDERINGS OF EACH WILDERNESS GENERATION AND ensures that THEY LACK NOTHING.
Through forty years in the wilderness God provided all that they needed; their clothing never wore out, and their feet were never swollen with pain. - - Nehemiah 9:21 (GNT)
In 1896, gold was discovered by local miners in the Klondike region of the Yukon. Over the next few years, gold-fever triggered a mass migration of more than 100,000 souls to that northern frontier in hopes of hitting the mother-lode. In the end, only a miniscule percentage would actually find what they had gone looking for while the vast majority simply fought to endure the ruthless, unforgiving Arctic wilderness. Among the few staples that prospectors relied on for survival during the gold-rush was sourdough bread… Yes, that very same baked good that has been all glammed up on Facebook & Instagram for the last 14 months.
As a simple source of reliable sustenance, and with its surprising resistance to the freezing temperatures, sourdough starter was a must-have for the Klondike miners trying to survive in the Canadian tundra. In a reverent nod to the minimalism and resilience of that dough, as well as the rugged prospectors who carried it into that desolate landscape, all children who are born and grow up in the challenging environment of the Yukon are formally recognized and celebrated as a... ‘Sourdough’.
'I’m so glad we aren’t trying to raise kids today!’… It can be a comment we hear often from each successive generation of believers as they move on in their parenting years, but it may not convey the reassurance and encouragement that younger Christian parents and their children could use. That comment can express a sense of dejection and even hopelessness as we focus on the persistent and rapid establishment of anti-gospel philosophies in the culture bequeathed to the next generation. That comment can also convey a sense of pity and condolence to the younger generation, who is compelled to navigate the mounting challenges of their increasingly Christ-less society. Perhaps, we ought to consider a more encouraging and uplifting adage for younger believers who will be seeking to persevere as gospel light in the darkness of their generation.
The first generation of Israelites that marched out of Egypt constantly wrestled with living faithfully in the hardship of the desert. Confronted with the vulnerability and insecurity of their surroundings, they often looked longingly back at what they perceived to be the relative safety of life in Egypt. And as a whole new generation was born in the perilous desert, we can easily imagine overhearing concerned grandparents whisper, ‘Wow, what a ruthless wasteland this is… I’m sure glad we don’t have to try to raise kids out here.’ But an entire generation of ‘Sourdough’ babies was brought forth in that wasteland, and from their infancy, the only existence they ever knew was a humble, desperate reliance on God’s faithful provision in the midst of wilderness hostility. Born into inhospitable surroundings and circumstances that ought to have sealed their demise, this generation grew up with everything they needed, and they came to maturity not just surviving but thriving on the steadfast care of God.
On the verge of finally completing the exodus journey and stepping into the Promised Land, it is to this ‘Sourdough’ generation who knew only the scarcity and fragility of life in the wilderness, that Moses speaks, “Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years…The Lord your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing.” (Deut. 2:7 & 8:4) 40 years of arduous desert life should have disintegrated their clothing and left them crippled in that unforgiving wasteland, but God not only met all their needs, He was with them for every step of those 40 years, blessing them in all they did and making sure they lacked NOTHING.
Instead of despairing over the hostile and godless trajectory of the culture and pitying the next generation for having to face significant challenges, perhaps we ought to reflect on the incredible truth that God compassionately ‘knows (their) wanderings through this great wilderness’. He has intentionally appointed the particular time and place into which He calls each generation of His people to boldly live out their faith in that unique moment in history. Despite the culture's hastening and deepening rebellion to God, we have a profound assurance, comfort and encouragement that comes from knowing that no matter how hostile and unforgiving a culture may be, God faithfully provides every generation of believers with exactly what they need to spiritually thrive where He has placed them! We ought to celebrate and encourage the ‘Sourdough’ generation of today and tomorrow as the ones who, like previous generations, will be graciously enabled to persevere through their own wilderness by the faithful hand of God.