Most of us who have been walking with the Lord for any length of time will have by now experienced both the exhilaration of the mountain-top experiences, as well as the lows during times in the valley. There are both heights and depths in the ebbs and flows of life, and both are necessary in life of walking in the spirit. We encounter the nature of God, and who He wants to be to us, in different ways during these times.
So what of the wilderness season? Biblically speaking, there are a number of reasons why we may end up in the wilderness. But the main thing to remember is that you’re there because there’s something the Lord wants to do in you, so set your heart to co-operate with His work in your life.
The wilderness is not a place where you have been set aside or forgotten about by the Lord. The wilderness is to be a place of provision, hope, and goodness. It’s a place to encounter The River of God in arid places. Where there seems to be dryness, barrenness, and great thirst, we discover that He is always present. The wilderness is a place where we discover the areas in our hearts where something is present that needs displacing, realigning, refilling, or refreshing, as these things are exposed and rise to the surface. The Holy Spirit already knows what will rise to the surface, but we need to see this for ourselves so we can respond to the invitation for Him to come into that place of lack.
In the wilderness, we are sometimes faced with a environment which is saying the opposite than what the Lord is – we are surrounded by barrenness and impossibility. However, the invitation is to encounter the Lord and to see Him as stronger and greater than the wilderness. We can truly know His great grace in that place, and dimensions of His manifold grace that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. We can be renewed with sight and with greater levels of peace and trust towards our Father.
The wilderness is a place where we experience the kindness of the Lord (Hosea 2:14-15). The voice of the Lord is present. His provision is present, and your inheritance in Christ is forming and manifesting.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.”
For the Israelites, the wilderness exposed their unbelief. They spent 40 years having their unbelief stripped so they could return and have faith to believe they could enter Canaan and deal with the giants in the land. The wilderness will expose those things that are hindering your belief for the impossible, the fear of the giants in your life, and who you believe God wants to be in and through you as you step into your destiny.
David could be said to have spent much of his life in the wilderness, as he spent his early life alone tending sheep, and later he spent much of the time fleeing Saul. His time in the wilderness is marked by intimate fellowship with God, and he is known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). When in the wilderness, he wrote this:
“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.” (Psalm 63:1-2)
John the Baptist
John the Baptist appears to have spent most of his time in the desert:
“And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.” (Luke 1:80)
John’s public ministry only lasted a few months until his death. But He was prepared in the wilderness, and he learned humility and obedience for when he appeared to Israel. The wilderness is where we receive clarity for our calling, the character in which to carry it out, and the empowering grace of God that meets us in our humility and surrender.
Jesus’ time in the wilderness began after the Father had spoken over Him and said: “this is my beloved son in whom I’m well pleased”. He was led to the wilderness by the Spirit of God (Matt. 4:1). When returning from 40 days in the desert, his public ministry began: “Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region” (Luke 4:14). He overcame temptation, and walked in power and authority over the Enemy. His wilderness experience preceded his revealing, and the next phase of his life on earth.
The Gift of the Season
I believe the wilderness experience precedes promotion, whether that involves greater public visibility or whether it’s the step into the next phase of life or ministry. (Promotion from heaven’s perspective does not necessarily look like we expect it to). It’s where confidence that is firmly rooted in humility can be established, thus causing us to stay the course in faithful trust and surrender to our Father.
There is much to receive in the process if you align your heart with the truth of who He is – He will never leave you or forsake you. His provision is available, and you will emerge from this time renewed and ready for the season of revealing.
Thanks for reading.