"Yet Thou in Thy manifold mercies, forsook them not in the wilderness. The pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light and the way they should go."
The Israelites left Egypt to go .....into the wilderness! Western believers often expect that their lives will become a rich, abundant valley filled with pleasure and joy and free from cares when they are come to Christ. But always, sooner or later, there is a wilderness. Dangerous. Unpredictability. Barrenness. Scarity.
The promise is His presence. His comfort. His protection. His provision. His power to walk through the wilderness. The joy is that he never leaves. Never forsakes. Always enables.
How often we forget. Elyse Fitzpatrick in her book, Because He loves Me, sheds some light on this on page 18:
It's essential for us to think about God's love today because it is only his love that can grant us the joy that will strengtehn our hearts, the courage that will embolden us in our fight against sin, and the assurance that will enable us to open up our lives to him so taht he might deal powerfully with our unbelief and idolatry. If we're not completely convince that his love is ours right now--fully and unalterably ours-we'll alsways hide in the shadows, focusing on our performance, fearing his wrath."
"Yet indeed I count all things for loss for the excellance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things"..... Philippinas 3:8