The wilderness is real for everyone. It can be long, lonely, difficult and even painful. But it exists with purpose. Nobody goes through the dry desert valley for not.
We find ourselves in these desolate places and long to escape. Often, in these places, we find it is a battle just to survive. The isolation is dark and often seems endless. The mundane is grueling as we anxiously look for the bridge that leads us away from the valley that seems to be going nowhere.
If only we knew the realities of the wilderness. If only we understood the transforming power the wilderness longs to bring. If only we embraced the process of being stripped away of self and becoming completely immersed and dependent on Jesus. If only we accepted the wilderness of our lives as opportunities and preparation for where we are headed.
Moses spent one third of his life in the desert. I don’t think he would have been the man he was had it not been for that period of time. It was those 40 years that shaped him to do the next 40 years.
We look at Moses’ time in the desert and think it was strictly punishment, as if God doesn’t work when we are being disciplined. Yes, there was punishment, but so much more.
Those 40 years of wilderness prepared Moses to rise up and do what he was called to do. There was an enabling and developing of character that took place in the desert. There was a surrender of self-will that led to total dependence on God that occurred in those barren places.
Yes, the desert experience endured by Moses was a result of his own actions. But God is gracious and merciful and didn’t waste an opportunity establish His Kingdom purpose through a flawed man. It became a season, a very long season, where human character was laid to rest and a new man was raised-up to accomplish His purpose.
It is true, the wilderness is an unpleasant place for the human. It goes against our innate being. We despise what is uncomfortable. We loathe what we cannot control. We detest long seasons of waiting. And yet, Jesus understands this more than anyone.
Long before our wilderness, Jesus had a wilderness season and it was that season of prayer, fasting, pressing into God that paved the way for His three years of ministry bringing the Kingsom to the world. It was a needed and required desert time of preparation.
We try to so desperately to escape our desert seasons. We want to run from the painful process that produces new life, healing, transformation and the fullness of Jesus Christ in our life. We want to bypass the wilderness and get back to our idea of living. We focus on a way out. Don’t.
God never abandons or wastes the desert seasons of our lives. His grace goes with us even in the driest most desolate places. Friend, if you are in the wilderness, stay there until He leads you out. Understand you are there with intention and purpose and in His time, the path that leads to the next season and journey will be made, and you will be ready and prepared for what lies ahead.