The Iroquois Indians had and old-age custom that brought me to an understanding of God's purpose for the desert seasons we go through; like a picture that has to develop in a dark room.
When an Iroquois boy reached the age of 12, he was led out at night into the darkest and most dangerous part of the forest. The boy had to spend the night by himself with no weapon or protection. The darkness was so intense that even the moon was hidden. If he successfully stood guard for the entire night, the tribesmen would return in the morning and honor the boy as a true man. But if the darkness became too frightening, and he ran back to the village, his promotion to manhood was postponed indefinitely.
[Can you imagine being alone and naked in the worst part of the forest? It's the darkness in my room that sometimes plays tricks on my mind, imagine if I knew dangerous creatures were roaming close, waiting for the chance to devour me! With the fear that paralyzes you and tells you to go back into the safety zone.]
Hours later, if the boy courageously outlasted the darkness, the morning light would begin to break. The young boy would rub his eyes and wearily welcome the dawn. Squinting to survey his surroundings, his eyes would catch sight of a large figure concealed in the high trees behind him. There, quietly positioned in a nearby tree, was a sight that instantly brought confidence and relief to the frightened young man. Without the boy knowing it, his father had spent the night there in the forest with him- his arrow drawn and ready to defend his son from any harm.
The loving father would have never allowed his son to face darkness alone. But in order to grow and mature, the boy had to conquer his fears and confusion. Though he may have felt abandoned and forgotten, his feelings were lies. He was under his father's protection the whole time. As the father watched, the boy's courage outlasted the night. When the daylight finally scattered the darkness the next morning, it revealed a young boy who was maturing into true manhood.
(Excerpt from the book "Uncensored" by Jeanne Mayo)
My prayer for a while has been growth and maturity. But sometimes the price is costly and leaves us feeling alone. Yet, feelings lie to us. The Spirit within me is over me, protecting me. I may not always "feel" Him, but that doesn't mean He isn't near. He promises to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). I also have understood that often times, God's will for us is to be uncomfortable. We will bear much fruit as we die to ourselves. Like the acorn that dies and bears fruit- an oak tree.