There are always moments in our walk with God when we feel stagnated, lonely, rejected, and disoriented. This is what I consider “the wilderness experience.” The wilderness experience is mostly characterized by intense spiritual, emotional, financial, or relational drought.
One may not literally feel the presence of God. And, to some extent, experience the engagement of God. This is a time of solitude—facing challenges alone—coupled with complete silence from God.
The wilderness is not a comfortable place to be, but is the best place to discern the ‘still small’ voice of God. It is in these moments that God trains us to be humble, strong, courageous, and faithful. The wilderness experience builds our faith, teaches us to lean on God, and prepares our feet for swiftness. Like Elijah, we might want to give up our life, ministry, relationship, or business in these times.
Why would God allow us to go through the wilderness, with all its pain, stress, and stagnation? Spending time learning God’s view on the situation can really ease us of the tension and stress we might go through.
‘Wilderness’ originates from a root word in Hebrew, which figuratively means: “to speak; rarely (in a destructive sense) to subdue: -answer, appoint, bid, command, commune, declare, destroy, give, name, promise, pronounce, rehearse, say, speak, be spokesman, subdue, talk, teach, tell, think.”
In contrast to our view of the wilderness, God uses it as a time to speak to us, commune with us, destroy the unbelief and pride in us, and also to take us through the rehearsal session.
When God promised the Israelites deliverance, the next thing they experienced was oppression. What is my point? Most times, what really happens is that, when God promises ‘light,’ our next experience becomes intense ‘darkness.’ When He promises a land flowing with milk, the next place we tread tends to be a desolate and wild land.
The wilderness experience is inevitable. God arranges it and uses it to strengthen us. But the experience often becomes so severe that we give up. This is the time when we should persevere by holding onto our faith and learning to trust in the promises of God. God’s grace and love do not end in the wilderness. Instead, they abound even more and more.
You can be lonely, but not alone. God’s word gives innumerable promises that could give us hope in such times of trying.