In my mind, the wilderness is rarely (and, by rarely, I mean never) a pleasant place to find yourself. The wilderness is the scene in a movie where the creepy music begins playing and the lady running in stilettos from a would-be kidnapper is about to trip over a tree root and fall helplessly to the ground.
A couple years ago, we were housesitting for a friend and I decided to take a walk through the woods. It seemed like a good idea when I began. There came a point, however, when the sun had begun to set and every shadow seemed like something off of a Criminal Minds episode. Let’s just say that the walk back to the house didn’t take me nearly as long as the walk out.
No doubt, you have had your own wilderness experiences.
God has recently revealed something to me about the wilderness. The wilderness is not a place of punishment. We think that, don’t we? We look at every struggle and we wonder what we did wrong. We see others living seemingly easier lives and it all seems unfair. I know what you’re thinking – Get outta here with that “unfair” talk. Fine, maybe you don’t use the fair/unfair argument. Whatever. I’m just going to leave it there on the off chance someone else has ever felt that way.
As I study Scripture, I have learned some interesting things about the wilderness. It’s not a place of punishment. But the wilderness IS a place of:
- Protection: (Exodus 13:17-18) When God rescued His people from the slavery they were enduring, God did not take the quickest route. When I set my GPS, I always choose “quickest route.” But God knew that the quick route held dangers of its own. God chose to lead His people into the wilderness to protect them from the poor decisions they may have made on the fast track home.
- Passion: (Hosea 2:14) The world is loud and full of distractions. Sometimes, the Lord leads us into the wilderness to remind us of His love for us – to refocus our hearts on Him. He wants to stir up the passion we once had for Him.
- Prayer: (Luke 5:16) Jesus would pray in the wilderness. In fact, Scripture says that He “often” withdrew to “lonely places.” Have you ever felt incredibly lonely? Could it be that God purposely puts us in those lonely places so that we are perfectly situated to hear from Him?
- Provision: (Psalm 78:19) If your wilderness season includes financial struggle, there can be a lot of fear and uncertainty. Your God can provide a feast in the wilderness, my friend. God will provide an abundant harvest in a place the enemy can only plant seeds of doubt.
If you are currently in the wilderness, there are three things you need to know.
- The wilderness is not an accident.
- The wilderness is not for always.
- You are never alone in the wilderness.
There are gifts in the wilderness: Protection, Passion, Prayer and Provision.
You are loved. <3