So today I wanted to share something that the Lord has been teaching me for a while now: the wilderness season. As Christians, we often hear people say ‘I am in the wilderness/desert season.’ Google defines wilderness as ‘a neglected or abandoned area, a position of disfavour’. It is a place of testing where we feel isolated, uncertain and fearful; no wonder we don’t like being there.
I have been learning however that being in the wilderness as a Christian, is not necessarily a negative thing. The experience can take many forms: depression, a crisis that causes you to question your faith, feeling lonely and forgotten, and many others.
It is actually a place where, if we allow Him, God speaks to us, teaches us and prunes us through the testings. All this as preparation for His wonderful purpose.
In Hosea 2:14 God says this about Israel: 'But I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.’
There are many people in the Bible who met/experienced God in the wilderness. In Exodus 3:1, Moses was tending to his father-in-law’s sheep in the wilderness and that is where he encountered the burning bush and had an experience that changed his life. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah fled to the wilderness after Jezebel threatened him. There, the angel of the Lord appeared and provided Him with food for the journey ahead. The journey of the children of Israel though the wilderness is another great example. In the wilderness, God gave them manna, He gave them the 10 commandments and gave them victory over nations.
It is usually a time of being alone. It is a great opportunity to draw closer to God since there are fewer distractions and our need for Him is greatly increased.
However, being in the wilderness can trigger doubt, insecurities and fear but Romans 8:28 tells us that , ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His good purposes.’ So we shouldn’t allow these things to overcome us but be confident of the fact that it will work out for our good.
Here are a few tips I have learnt along the way:
1. Stay connected to the source which is God.
It is very easy to become discouraged and to push God away when we are going through the wilderness experience (we all will at some point). However, the best decision we can make is to stay connected to the source of our strength, the source of our joy and the source of our refreshing, which is God.
2. Stay in the word.
One of the ways to encourage ourselves is to be in the word.
However, the Word must be in you even before you get to the wilderness. Just like Jesus (our great example), we need to know the word and stand on it because it can’t be in the time of trials or discouragement that we begin to wonder where Psalms is in the bible. The Word should be flowing out of us.
3. Trust and don’t complain.
It is very easy to complain during this time like the children of Israel did. However, complaining and resisting will only prolong your time there. Trust in God, yield to His purpose and allow Him to do the work that He needs to do in you during this season. Rather than complaining, praise your way through it!
4. Stand strong.
In this season there is a greater temptation to abandon ship by doing our own thing and going outside of God’s will. However, we need to be on our guard and stand strong.
As Christians we are all going to find ourselves in this season at one point or another.
So, to encourage someone who is in this season, trust in God and His marvellous purpose, allow Him to reveal Himself to you and allow Him to reveal who you are to you. He is with you even when it seems He isn’t.
Be encouraged by Isaiah 43:19
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
You will make it through, and He will be with you all the way.