If you’re anything like me, the very word wilderness leaves a very bitter taste in your mouth.
It used to for me too.
Don’t roll your eyes or sigh deeply just yet.
Let me explain.
Several years ago, in the heart of one of my most difficult wilderness experiences (yes, I have had several), I would have rather just disappeared than have to go through that dark season of my life.
While battling depression, I was also very unhappy in my career, burned out from ministry and feeling as if my life was a complete waste. It didn’t help that at the height of that season, I started an unhealthy relationship.
Looking back, I realized that the wilderness that I was in was in fact orchestrated by God to get me to where I am today in terms of being filled with purpose, free from depression and content in my season of singleness.
That wilderness experience was fertile ground for this blog amongst other things that I began doing.
It has helped me to become who I was already created to be.
Not to mention, my Forever Friend, Jesus Himself, had to go through the wilderness.
And since He is with me wherever I go, at some point, I realize that I will end up here too.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread. ~Matthew 4:1-3 NLT
Let’s talk about a few things here to provide a breakdown for context:
WHO: Jesus, the Son of God
WHAT: He was led by the Spirit
WHERE: Into the wilderness….wait what?!
WHY: To be tempted by the devil.
Yes, you read that right.
The Holy Spirit, the One who leads us into all truth (John 16:13), led the One who was the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) into the wilderness.
Suffice it to say, there had to be a reason, right?
I mean, why would God allow that, especially after Jesus had just been baptized, the Holy Spirit had come to rest on Him and God had told Jesus that He was well pleased with Him?
Did I miss something here?
From where I am reading, it doesn’t appear that Jesus did anything wrong, right? (And He didn’t.)
Perhaps, that could be the case for you too.
Despite the fact that you may be in the wilderness right now.
Can I suggest to you, sis, that the wilderness could be a good place for you, even if it doesn’t feel good?
In the waiting process, it may very well seem like we are in the wilderness.
Don’t despise your wilderness experiences. Jesus was led there by the Spirit so we are not exempt.
Here are 4 things to consider if you find yourself here at some time in your life: (Hint: you will!)
- The wilderness is necessary and often times God orchestrated for us to see what is really in us in times of testing and temptations. Jesus didn’t fall prey to the enemy and his lies.
- The wilderness is crucial for growth and to prepare us for where God is taking us next. Jesus began His ministry after this experience. (Matthew 4:12)
- The wilderness serves as a reminder that we need to always depend fully on God, especially in those times of weakness, hunger and when we are vulnerable. Jesus didn’t rely on His power and ability to sustain Him, but on God Himself.
- The wilderness is an opportunity to prepare us, even right now, for other wilderness experiences by encouraging us to fill ourselves up with the Word. It will be the very thing that sustains you and I, especially in times of waiting. What was in Jesus and the essence of who He was came out. (John 1:1).