If I were to ask you to picture wilderness, what would come to mind? Would it be desert? Would it be a forest? Would it be an island in the middle of nowhere?
Whatever you picture, I’m sure it’s not a place where you would ask your travel agent to book your next vacation.
When I hear the term wilderness, I also immediately pair it with the word lost. Lost in the wilderness seems like a horrible state to be in and I remember news stories of people being lost in the wilderness. I suppose when I think of wilderness, I think of no way out.
But, the Bible tells us a different story about the wilderness. When God sent His people to the wilderness, not only was there a reason, but they were never lost. He knew right where they were and why.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were in the wilderness for forty years and while it was a punishment for disobedience, it was also an opportunity for them to grow, and to trust, and depend on Him. It was a time for them to ultimately leave their Egyptian captivity behind for good. Keep in mind He fed them and led them the entire time. They weren’t where they wanted to be, but they weren’t lost either.
And when the time came to claim the Promised Land, they were ready.
In the New Testament, when Jesus went out to the wilderness, He fasted for forty days and then was tempted by Satan. There was nothing fun about the wilderness for Jesus, but the Son of God went head to head with Satan and won. He too, was being prepared.
God had not abandoned Him.
There are times in our own lives when we find ourselves in a wilderness of some sort. Sometimes we made choices that put us there. Sometimes we have no idea how we got there or even why. Either way, if we lean into God, He will use those times to grow us and stretch us, to refine us, and to build us into something better and stronger.
God never abandons His people. We never walk alone. Then, when we least expect it, He will call us to our own promised land, the one He has uniquely planned for each of us.
Learning to accept seasons in the wilderness is part of our faith journey. Learning to trust that God will lead us out and into something better, is also part of our faith journey.
Sometimes I need reminding that the promised land is just ahead. Perhaps you do too.
Have an awesome day!