What do you think of when you hear the word “wilderness?” Do you envision an isolated, barren, lonely and perhaps scary place? Is it a physical space, or a state of mind? Look at the following definition of wilderness: “an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.” Further, ” a neglected or abandoned area of a garden or town.” Suffice it to say, for many, the wilderness is not a favourable place to be. The wilderness is and can be a place of desolation, disorientation and despair.
However, good things can and do come out of the wilderness times. Three hundred references in Scripture tell us that the bible has a lot to say about the wilderness. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years after they had been delivered from the Egyptians. In their wilderness experience, the people witnessed God’s deliverance (escaping through the Red Sea on dry ground), they saw His provision (Manna and Quails).
The prophets of God were not exempt from wilderness experiences. Jeremiah, in the book of Lamentations writes “I will never forget this terrible time!” But, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:24-26.
One of the most significant wilderness experiences occurred in the life of our Lord. Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness following his baptism and preceding His earthly ministry. During the forty days, Jesus triumphed over Satan and demonstrated full dependence upon God.
Common to these wilderness experiences was hardship and suffering. However, and more importantly, what was also true, is that God was very close to each one who was in that place.
At the beginning of this Lenten season, where are you? Do you find yourself in a wilderness? The wilderness in which you may find yourself may not be physical space, it might be a state of mind. What lesson or discipline might God be teaching you in this place? Be assured that, as with the characters in the bible, God will meet you there and, you will sense His love and tenderness in that place. He will draw you close, as He draws you out.
In the peace of Christ, Rob+