Updated: Apr 14, 2019
Physically the wilderness is a place where the climate is arid, a place of barrenness, deep distress and loneliness. The wilderness is a hostile, potentially deadly environment and has a reputation for supporting very little life. Spiritually the wilderness, according to Henri Nouwen is “the place of the great struggle and the great encounter”. The wilderness was, and still is the setting for divine acts of grace, revelation, nurture, preparation and intense encounters with God. It is a place of wonder, silence and spiritual renewal.
A wilderness experience is an opportunity for us to:
draw near to God;
listen to Him;
draw nourishment from Him;
become rugged, tough and strong in faith; and
become totally dependent on God, we learn to lean on our beloved (Song of Solomon 8:5)
The wilderness experience is also an opportunity for the Lord to:
reorder our lives;
remove the things that hinder us in serving him;
bring about restoration (Hosea 2:15);
develop our character;
test and humble us (Deut 8:2);
teach us obedience and trust; and
At some stage of our lives we are all Wilderness Wanderers and in Matt 4:1-11 we are given some guidelines (from Jesus’ experience) on surviving our own wilderness experience:
We can be sure that when we are going through a wilderness experience we will doubt God’s provision. We should not be concerned about bread and provision – Jesus is the source of everything. In Matt 4:4 (NLT) we read “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”. In our wilderness experience we must know that the Lord is our provider, draw nourishment from Him, stand on His promises, we must confess His Word and keep our eyes fixed on Him.
Another thing that we can be sure of is that we will be tempted. You can lean on Jesus in times of testing, since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested (Hebrews 2:18). Don’t harden you heart (Hebrews 3:8). Although we don’t see it, there is a purpose in being tested, it is an opportunity for great joy, for when our faith is tested, our endurance has a chance to grow, and if we patiently endure testing and temptation, we will be rewarded with the crown of life (James 1:2, 3 and12).
When we are in the wilderness we have a hard time to worship God. It is in the wilderness that we will be faced with what/who we worship. Do we worship the things of this world, do I crave the things of this world more than Jesus – if you find that you do, you can quote Jesus’ words in Matt 4:10 “You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him”.
“God has called His children to be on mission with Him to make a global impact. As a part of His mission, God often leads us on a journey through the wilderness — that place where He prepares us, and that platform that He uses to declare His glory in and through our lives to a watching world. There are lessons that can only be learned in the wilderness. He will use this time to enable you to experience His Person, witness His power and better understand His purpose. Yes, His land of promise is on the other side, but don’t miss what He has for you right here in the wilderness.” ~Kenneth A Winter
Remember that the wilderness is not your final destination, but while you are doing some wilderness wandering may you know that The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame and you will be like a watered garden and like a stream that never runs dry (Isaiah 58:11).
Author: Istell Orton