wilderness 4 

It can be an actual place or a period of time in your life. It is characterized by desolation, whether that looks like overgrowth or emptiness. You can be driven there by pain or suffering, or you can choose it in hopes of relief. It can be somewhere you intentionally go to find peace or understanding in the midst of uncertainty or pain, or it may be somewhere you end up because the difficulties of your circumstances leave you feeling so incredibly alone. It may be the only place that all of your emptiness, frustration, and isolation will fit. It is always a place or a time where you feel alone, separated from the frantic pace and expectations of the world.

The Bible is full of wilderness stories. Moses went there to escape from Egypt. God required the Hebrews wander there for 40 years. Elijah and David hid there from rulers who wanted them dead, but Paul intentionally went there to learn about God. Jesus went there to prepare for his ministry. Battles were fought there; prophets spoke truth there; people were baptized there. The wilderness stories of the Bible are full of miracles, deeper insight, temptations, and fear. But one thing all wilderness time has in common for people in the Bible and for us; it changes the hearts of those who spend time there.

You may seek the wilderness to hide your shame or to find some direction. You may go there because you don’t belong where you used to be, or because you no longer want what you have. Your time there may be a source of rest or restlessness. Many found healing in the wilderness. Some died there. Some repented there. Nearly all saw or heard from God there. Some received new direction for their lives there. Others were refreshed there and left with new strength to return to their original calling.

Don’t waste your wilderness. Don’t just spend time there and go back to your world and your problems unchanged. Let the desolation of your wilderness lead you into the presence of God. Let it give you new perspective on what took you there and what is next after your time there is done. May your time in the wilderness deepen your understanding of and your commitment to the Almighty God who seeks you wherever you go, even, and especially, in your wilderness.