The wilderness is a wild place of fear…and courage. Not until one has hiked, hunted, or gotten lost in a wilderness can one quite understand the fear and the courage it pulls out of you. The wilderness can define us. The wilderness is a wilderness because very few people desire to go there.
God seems to do his deepest work in the wilderness. Bible history is a constant wilderness narrative of God’s work. From Abram of Ur in Mesopotamia to Moses at Mt. Horeb in the Sinai, to the Judean wilderness of John and Jesus, God does his most significant work in the loneliness of the wilds.
For us Americans, living the high life of the wealthiest nation in world history, we are living the “good life” of safety, predictability, and lighted streets. We have 401k’s and swimming pools. We are a people of indoor plumbing, electricity, washing machines, and computers. For us the wilderness is some distant place we see on Animal Planet and National Geographic channels. It has no real meaning to us.
Yet even for us God will use the wilderness. Maybe not an actual physical wilderness but a symbolic place, just as real. The wilderness symbolizes those places in our pilgrimage where we are stripped of natural resources, relationships, and the props that we have so depended upon. We are pulled out of the civilization of busy accomplishment, career advancement, and economic gain. God uses the wilderness in our lives to do something deep within our heart that could not be accomplished any other way.
Moses received his life calling in the wilderness. For Moses it came at the zenith of his career in Egypt, God set him up for Sinai and drove him out of his home and familiarity to find himself on a desert mountain in land of Midian. It was there in the back of the desert at the “Mountain of God,” that The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire. Moses met God at the most intimate level in the wilderness and his life was changed forever.
The other day, upon returning from my prayer walk I read these words,
I remember you,
The kindness of your youth,
The love of your betrothal,
When you went after Me in the wilderness,
We will all go through the wilderness many times in our journey through life and with Christ. There are times coming in all of our lives, where God will strip us of our energy, our resourcefulness, our intellect, and our wisdom. God will intentionally drive us into a wilderness. His purpose is not to hurt or harm us, but to save us. Save us from ourself. God will take us into the desert because he loves us.
We will be faced with a choice. Either we will run from the wilderness, back to the false gods of so called civilization, or we will run into the wilderness and embrace the God who is there. God is most intimate with us at our most vulnerable with him.
Go after Jesus while in the wilderness; seek him, as your beloved. He has a purpose for your wilderness. He remembers you and he has a beautiful, bountiful, kind, purpose for taking you through the wilderness. Embrace it. The place of fear will be transformed into a place of courage.
On the Road,
 The New King James Version. 1982 (Je 2:2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.