The wilderness is known as a dry place. Many would picture it as a desert, a place where there is no life, barren. We all go through periods of wilderness seasons in our lives. But what is the purpose of the wilderness? Let’s look at some people in the bible that had time in the wilderness to see what it can reveal to us.
Moses ran for his life and ended up in the wilderness of Midian. During this time God spoke to him and told him He was going to use him to deliver the people of Israel out of Egypt. His time in the wilderness he learned how to shepherd sheep. He probably didn’t know it, but God was preparing him to shepherd His people, Israel. Moses also was introduced to God. He had his first experience with God for himself. It was no longer the “God of the Hebrews”, it was GOD, the Lord of MY life. He had his own experience of the God he had heard about. We don’t know God until we experience Him for ourselves. We don’t want to live our lives based on someone else’s experience, but we want to have our own experiences with God. God gave Moses specific instructions to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. In the wilderness, God was preparing him to be a leader, He revealed Himself to Moses, showed him His power, shown Moses who He said he truly was and provided him instructions. God didn’t send him there to attend sheep for the rest of his life, he needed to go back where he ran from as a leader this time.
After a fierce battle with the pagan worshipers of Baal, Jezebel, King Ahaz’s wife wanted him dead for killing all her fake prophets. She sent messagers to Elijah with this message
“So may the gods do to me, and even more, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like the life of one of them.”
Afraid, Elijah runs for his life and journeyed to the wilderness. After asking God to die, an angel is sent to feed him and provide water not once, but twice. Elijah felt he was the only one left, that all the prophets were dead and the people of God had abandoned the covenant with God. But God tells him there are still 7000 survivors of Israel and sends him on his next journey. Situations in life may leave us feeling lonely, drained, and defeated, but this is the time God is refreshing you for what you are to do next. God used this time to refresh Elijah and to remind him that He was still in control, and then sent him on a mission to anoint a new king. Elijah was not alone during this time, God was still there providing for him not just food, but also hope.
I can’t leave out Jesus. After Jesus was baptized he was taken by the Spirit into the Wilderness. He was tested by Satan for 40 days and nights with the 3 things we struggle with every day, materialism, hedonism (self-indulgence), and pride of life. Jesus was successful as He used the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, to defeat the enemy. We should also use the Word of God when the enemy wants to attack us, it is sharper than a two-edged sword. After Jesus’ testing was completed His ministry started.
There are others that I could talk about when it comes to the wilderness, like King David and the Israelites…Yes, the Israelites…they didn’t trust God and His power to bring them into the Promise Land, they complained all the way through the wilderness and at the end, only their children were able to go. So what really is the wilderness and why do we have to go through it?
The wilderness is your training ground.
It is the place God is using to prepare you for your next mission. He wants to equip you with everything you have need of. I don’t know what your wilderness may look like, but you are not going through this for no reason. The enemy already knows the calling you have on your life. During this preparation, there may be some pain, but there is something that is going to be unlocked. God has predestined your existence for a purpose. You have a purpose and God wants to see it accomplished through His Spirit.
Even a seed has to go into a dark place before it sprouts and produces fruit.
During this time, you are not alone, God has not left you or forsaken you. God even has people praying for you, people you might not even know. So, while you are in the wilderness, continue to praise God through it, like how Paul and Silas praised God until the foundations of the jail were shaken and the prison door flew open.
God wants to refresh you, prepare you, reveal things to you, and yes, TEST you, because once you come out of this, you will be entering into a new season where great and mighty things you will do in Jesus’ Name.