by Brenda Kuseski
In her book, Desperate for His Presence, Rhonda Hughey asks us to re-think our understanding of the difficult “wilderness” seasons in our lives. Her observations can be applied both personally and corporately here at Faith Church.
The wilderness represents several different things in the Bible. It illustrates a place to which God takes his people--the difficult, survival place of solitude, loneliness, and testing. There, he works in our lives to bring about redemptive brokenness and to prepare us for usefulness. The experience prepares us to go deeper into our relationship with Jesus so we can possess his promises and realize our destiny.
God likes the wilderness. He uses the wilderness both literally and metaphorically as the place to prepare his people. For Moses, it was an issue of humility. The wilderness became God’s means to break his Egyptian arrogance and fleshly confidence in his own ability. After forty years in the wilderness, when God was prepared to use him to deliver Israel from Egypt, Moses no longer felt he could do it--and told God to find somebody else! For the nation of Israel, the wilderness season served as a cleansing agent to remove the influence of their many years in Egypt.
God speaks about the wilderness experience for Israel in Deuteronomy 8:2: “ the Lord your God LED you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his Commandments or not.” And “in the wilderness the Lord fed them, provided garments that did not wear out, and trained them… as a man chastens his sons, so the Lord your God chastens you” (Deuteronomy 8:5). Then God reminds Moses of his Covenant: “for the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land” (Deuteronomy 8:7).
God is longing to bring us through the wilderness into the land of promise! For the Israelites, as well as for us, this requires a time of testing and humbling us to “know what is in our hearts.”
It was in the wilderness that God prepared and released the Forerunner ministry and message of John the Baptist. And it was also in the wilderness where Jesus encountered and resisted Satan as the final step of preparation for his ministry.
Being drawn away by the Lord into a “wilderness” season can be a life-changing opportunity. The season may be long or short, mildly or extremely painful emotionally. We don't go there because we are bad or because God is mad at us; He leads us there to perfect his character and nature in us.