“For the people of Israel belong to the Lord; Jacob is his special possession.He found them in a desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes.” – Deuteronomy 32:9-10
In the TV series Alone,10 people try to survive a harsh, unforgiving wilderness with only their wits, their skills, and the ten items they each chose to carry in their packs. They must hunt, build shelters, and fend off predators. It is the ultimate test of human will.
As a Christian, you will end up in a spiritual wilderness more than once in your life. In the spiritual wilderness, God seems distant because you can’t hear Him or sense His presence or guidance. But the wilderness, like the valley, is where God sustains you no matter how long you are lost and no matter how long you are in the wilderness. The wilderness is a place where you can be restored and offers you a chance to be restored by God, if you will stay there long enough.
In Deuteronomy 8:2-3 (MSG , the children of Israel are reminded what happened to them during those forty long years of wandering in the wilderness: “Remember every road that God led you on for those forty years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that he would know what you were made of, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He put you through hard times. He made you go hungry. Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about, so you would learn that men and women don’t live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God’s mouth.”
This passage basically tells us that a test from God is not to reveal how defective you are; it’s to reveal what’s already inside of you, and even what’s lacking, so God can provide it for you. The children of Israel got hungry, so they cried out to God to feed them. And God gave them manna.
When we’re in a wilderness season, it’s easy to lose sight of God’s protection, provision, and preparation. It may feel random, but each moment is God’s design. It may seem like the end of your story, but it’s really the only way the story goes forward. If God has called you into a wilderness season, don’t give up. In that dry, choking place, in that season of barely hanging on, remember God is watching over you. Have faith and know he’s using this difficult season to prepare for you things ahead—things sometimes far greater than you could ever achieve without the pain and struggles that you may be encountering today.
- What can we do when we are in the wilderness?
- Read James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-5: What is the purpose and benefits of being in the wilderness?
- What can we apply to our lives from the message this week?