Have you ever felt that you were in a wilderness? A quick search on google for the definition of wilderness gives you these 3 definitions.
1) An uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.
2) a neglected or abandoned area of a garden or town.
3) A position of disfavor, especially in political context
Wow! I feel like that describes the spiritual wilderness I felt like I experienced these past few weeks/ month.
An uncultivated, uninhabited and inhospitable region? Check. The Lord has been pinpointing areas in my life that I thought were cultivated and surrendered to him and exposing them to let me know that He’s still working on me, his son!
A neglected or abandoned area of a garden or town? Check. I had neglected my prayer walk with Him! I had neglected seeking His will in His word diligently. See, I used to get Joy from reading His word and I never read the bible out of a sense of religious duty or some holy ritual. It was always because the word of God was life to my soul!
“The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” – John 6:63 (NKJV)
What do you do when you feel like the Holy Spirit is no longer speaking life into you? It’s scary. Nothing is worse than to feel like that God has abandoned you or His Holy Presence is not tangible anymore. So it is very easy in those times to abandon your secret place of prayer and seeking His face on your knees.
37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Mark 14: 37-38 (NKJV)
It’s so tempting and easy to hit the snooze button, when you feel like you are in a wilderness where God’s presence is absent.
The third definition of wilderness was a position of disfavor, especially in a political context. If I were to modify the definition to apply it to this context, it would read something like “a position of disfavor in the context of God’s kingdom, where the Lords face seems to have turned away from you, and his joy, peace and grace feel to have disappeared”.
However, I am learning that the wilderness (literally or metaphorically) is God’s favorite place to work on His sons & daughters. Take a look at John the Baptist:
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’” – Matthew 3: 1- 3 (NKJV)
Jesus would later speak of John the Baptist saying that in Matthew 11“among those born of women there has not risen one greater than john the Baptist…”
And as we also see in Matthew 4, Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit before he started his earthly ministry (Matthew 4: 1). So the wilderness, although it may not feel like it, is a place where God is preparing us. He is emptying us out of worldliness and purging everything that is not from him. He is teaching us to completely and utterly rely on His every word and voice for our sustenance. He is giving us revelation for what’s to come. He is showing us that He is still with us even when it doesn’t feel like it.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20 (NLT)
The desert or the wilderness is a place of death and oblivion for a lot of plants. But Friend, Just as Jesus spoke in John 15, if we abide in him and remain in him we will live and flourish even in the wilderness. There’s one plant that is different from all other plants in its ability to withstand dry and arid conditions with minimal water. It’s the cactus. The person who abides in God’s will and trusts in Jesus even in the dry seasons and the wilderness is like the cactus! Actually, that person is much better than a cactus and more like a tree planted by streams of living water!
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)
May you become like a tree that is planted by a riverbank! May El Shaddai, the all sufficient one sustain you in the coming days, weeks, and months! May Jehovah Jireh, your provider, provide all your needs according to His riches. (Phil 4:19) May Jehovah Rohi, your great shepherd, lead you by still waters ( Psalms 23, John 10). May Jehovah Rophe, God your healer, heal you from all pain, ailments, sickness, disease in Jesus name!( Isaiah 53:5)
He hasn’t abandoned you! He sees you, He cares and His love is powerful than the wilderness you may be going through right now 🙂