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"Welcome To the Wilderness"


In the deep dealings of God, the wilderness is a very special place. It is a place God prepares for His people. It is not a happy place, an exciting place, or a sensational place. It is not an enticing place which people enthusiastically flock to. It is not a beautiful place, an enchanting place, or a place beside “still waters and green pastures.” It is a place of brokenness, emptiness, and need.

 

But it is a precious place, a blessed place, and a deeply personal place. It is there where a wellspring of spiritual enrichment can be found. This special place is only found in the barren solitude of those wilderness places God chooses just for you. You can’t find this place by reading the latest bestseller. You can’t find it through some innovative formula or “how to” steps.” No man can lead you there. No one can prophesy you there. No church celebrity or big-name ministry can take your hand and lead you there. No sensational movement knows the way there; no deeper truth has a secret map to find this place; no self-empowerment teaching has a clue. Only God knows the way there. Only He can take you there. But it is a place where each of us must go alone.

 

At first glance, the wilderness may seem like a God-forsaken place, but, in reality, it is a sacred place where one can find a unique intimacy and communion with God. It is a place of separation, sanctification, seclusion, contemplation, reflection, reappraisal, and divine instruction.

 

The wilderness is not a desirable place to find oneself in, because it is a place where the soul goes to experience the hard dealings of God. It is not the mountain top experience resounding with joy and the high praises of God but a forlorn desert of waiting, wanting, wandering. It is not a pleasant place, but a hard place often filled with the searing heat of tortuous soul-searching. Above all, it is that solitary place, that silent place, where we can hear the “still small voice” of God.


Abraham knew of this melancholy place. Moses wandered there for forty years. David, Elijah, the prophets, "John the Baptist", Paul and the Apostle John sojourned there. The Spirit even drove Jesus into the wilderness to be grievously tempted and tried. Like Jesus, God sometimes drives us into the wilderness for a season of testing and trial. The wilderness is a refining furnace of fire and heat where radical insights and deep paradigm changes are forged within us. It is where a prophetic understanding of the times and seasons is clarified. It is often the crucible where His message is formed within us for such a time as this!

 

Yes, the wilderness is a place where we come face to face with who we are in such a revealing way that we are forced to count the costs once again. It is a place of deep soul-searching where we are called to make some very difficult decisions.

 

Yes, it is the burning bush encounter, Elijah’s wake-up call in his lonely cave, and Abraham’s long journey across the burning sands to a city made without hands. The wilderness is that unique place where God prepares us for what is to come. Our journey there may last months or many years. There are no quick paths through it.

 

No, the wilderness is not a place of drama, excitement, or emotional highs. It is a barren place of quietness, stillness, and aloneness with just you and God. It can even be a depressive place where we feel a sense of abandonment like no other, just as Elijah felt in his wilderness cave. And, like Elijah, we can learn that what God is saying is not found in the rushing of the wind, the shaking of the earthquake, or the spectacle of fire but through His "still, small voice." It doesn’t come through the commotion of spiritual busyness or from sensational “happenings.” It is not heard from the voices of hype or hysteria. It only comes from God speaking to individual hearts in the stillness and solitude of this special place.

 

The wilderness is the place where we learn to be single-minded, fearless and to stand alone. It is where deep convictions are instilled and an unflinching fortitude to do His bidding is deposited deep within us. It is where the watchman and the prophet and His remnant are formed. It is where His message to this generation is born. There are no substitutes or surrogates for the wilderness experience. No program can replace it. No sensational movement can serve as an alternative. No run-away best-seller can take its place. No force of man can counterfeit it.

 

It is where we learn to fear the Lord more than fear man, or his criticism, rejection, condemnation, and persecution. God’s wilderness is a very hard place to be. It is a profoundly humbling place which no one who has been there ever boasts of. After one has successfully weathered their wilderness experience, they are able to look back and see that it as a cherished place which they alone can truly appreciate.

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