Everyone has their time in the wilderness

While I would love to say that you and I will never experience a wilderness time, I am constrained by the truth of biblical principle. We will all certainly go through our own time in the wilderness. The wilderness I’m referring to is not a physical one but a spiritual one. One of the first biblical examples of such a time is the wilderness period of 400 years of slavery that God’s children faced in Egypt. This was closely followed by another 40 years wandering in the wilderness  following the exodus from Egypt. When Saul was trying to capture and murder David, he fled to the wilderness and sought refuge there. Following Jesus’ baptism, He too was driven to the desert by the Spirit of God. He was there for 40 days and nights. In all these examples, there was a set time to stay in the wilderness.

The wilderness is often a place of character building that we pass through on our journey to God’s promises. However, all too often, we get confused and perplexed by the complexities of the wilderness. This causes many of us to fail to perceive what God is trying to achieve by allowing us pass through the wilderness. As a result, we unwittingly spend much longer than we ought to in such seasons.

English: Israel's Escape from Egypt, illustrat...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m beginning to realise that we help determine the length of time we will have to spend in our wilderness season. How we submit ourselves to God’s sanctification work in such times will often determine how long we will end up wandering in the wilderness. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 and Hebrews 3:16-19, we are clearly warned to learn from the mistakes made by the Israelites of old.

When we study their 40-year journey through the wilderness, one of the things that characterised their attitude towards God was unbelief. From that root of unbelief in their hearts, the symptom that gave them away outwardly was their persistent murmuring and complaining. I personally find murmuring and complaining to be one of the greatest snares I face as a Christian especially during wilderness seasons. It delayed the Israelites from reaching their promised land and I believe it will have the same negative effect on us too. How many times can I truly say that I find myself in a desolate place and I’m not murmuring and complaining? I have to be honest and admit that I’m still very much a work in progress in this area. It is so easy to focus on our problems rather than God’s goodness when we are in a wilderness season.

Another snare in the wilderness that is worth mentioning is fear. Just as the Israelites were paralysed by fear invoked by sighting giants that were obstructing their access to God’s promises, we too must take precaution not to fall into the same trap. How often do we allow fear of resistant forces paralyse us from marching ahead into God’s promises? We see giants in our future and immediately turn around petrified rather than remembering the size of the Giant Whose everlasting arms you’re being carried on.

When the passover lambs set the Israelites free from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, they didn’t immediately enter into God’s promises. They had to go through the wilderness first. We are also on a similar journey in our christian walk. Jesus, the ultimate Passover Lamb set us free from the grip of sin and death. However, some pastors wrongly teach that from the point when we make a decision to follow Christ, everything becomes honky dory! In reality, we soon enter into our own time in the wilderness. It is a necessary part of the route to the promise. The goal of the wilderness is to help the saint trust in God at a deeper level. In that place, we learn more about His love, protection and provision. We cannot get to our promised land without first going through the wilderness. The good news is that God is right there with you and He longs to bring you through this season. Don’t go back to Egypt or shortchange yourself by abandoning the wilderness training. It is what prepares us to become overcomers in this life. The sooner we stopped murmuring and complaining and turned to Him for clarification on why we are in the wilderness and what He aims to accomplish during our time there, the sooner we will enrich our souls and advance through the wilderness.

About Watchman

...Just another young man walking out his faith by God's grace day by day. I love writing, I love people and I love Jesus. That's me!
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14 Responses to Everyone has their time in the wilderness

  1. This speaks to me deeply. Thank you for it.

    Wilderness experience is common to man, before entering into the promises of God, or our destiny. Even Joseph had to go through a wilderness experience. I always say that Joseph was trained to lead a nation, as a slave and as a prisoner. God can be humorous. While his brothers and colleagues are having a nice time at home, he was busy being built by God in the wilderness, away from comfort and when he graduated from school, God took him to the throne. It may seem like an overnight occurrence but far from it.

    Wilderness experiences are crucial to our development. We must not try to escape them as they prepare us for God’s plan in our lives. If we can trust God in the wilderness, then He can entrust us with Canaan. Caleb and Joshua were the only two of the Egypt generation that God found trustworthy to enter Canaan.

    Interestingly, this thought came to me early this morning and believe it or not, the word “wilderness”: “When is it okay to doubt God?” I believe God is seeking people who know that “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, nd he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” I love that more than I can say.

    Thanks Bro.

    • Watchman says:

      Thanks Tolu. Apologies for the late reply. I’m away on business somewhere in our blessed continent and I’m only just sorting out my Internet service. Thanks so much for your rich contribution. The examples of Joseph, Caleb and Joshua are really apt here. I personally like to call my wilderness time ‘God’s accelerated development program’. I get really excited when I see a fellow believer going through a wilderness season not because of the challenges they face but for the fact that I know Godnis preparing them for one huge task or the other. I truly can’t wait for the day when I too will be able to say from the bottom of my heart: “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”. Thanks bro

  2. Thank you, Watchman! This post is so full and so what I need to hear over and over right now.

    Oh, Lord, help us not to turn back but to keep pressing forward in you with our eyes on you and our hearts devoted to you!! Thank you for encouraging me (and others) through Watchman. Continue to dwell in Him and speak through Him! We are in a wilderness but YOU ARE WITH US! Thank you, Lord!! Help us all to surrender fully to the good work you are doing in these hard times, so that we grow and develop in you according to your plan. Let everything work for your good. Keep us from fear, fatigue and lack of faith. Help us to know you more so that we rest fully in who you are and how you love and care for us! You are good, faithful and true! You will never leave us or forsake us. You will never give us more than we can handle in you. You are our Strength! Help us to persevere to the end. Let your will be done! In Jesus’ name – Amen.

    • Watchman says:

      Thanks so much for your prayer wp. Sorry for the late reply. I’m away on a business trip and my Internet services have been interrupted. Let His will be done. I say a big amen to your prayer wp! Take us to the finished line Lord. Keep our eyes fixed on You always.

  3. isaiah43123 says:

    Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

  4. Nnamdi says:

    Thanks for the encouraging word Watchman. Currently in the wilderness, but trusting God that Its only for a season and on my way to the promised land. It is indeed a time for character building. During the wilderness period, we must get closer to Him and trust Him even more. Our God is faithful.

    God bless

    • Watchman says:

      Hi Nnamdi. Be encouraged bro. The wilderness season always has a set time. Once God has developed your character to handle the blessings of the next season in the promised land, the wilderness comes to an end. It’s no place to pitch your tent. He’s taking you somewhere! Thanks bro

  5. Olúwatóyìn says:

    Thanks Watchan! Very true words spoken!

    One of the greatest challenges of a wilderness period is that it refocuses us. If we are not careful in that refocusing we can lose focus. When GOD wants our perspectives to develop maturity, we can choose to be immature.

    Also, even though the devil is neither omniscient nor omnipresent we can give the strategy away with our words and attitude. Complaining Christians can be like red flags to a rampaging bull. We might not have heard GOD bracing us for the wilderness, but a few complaints later we’d have clued the devourer up. Satan has seen many people go through many wildernesses before and may understand what GOD is doing while we haplessly blab away and reveal it all. (This also goes in tandem with your previous blog about when/how to seek counsel.)

    Still, while Satan has only observed the process, thank GOD that HE orchestrates it and doesn’t lose. HE won’t guide us into a wilderness that we’re not already ready for. And HE will always make a route out for us and it will be at the mountain top! Isn’t that where JESUS’ wilderness ended? Even if we can’t seen the entire route out, trust GOD, thank HIM and walk on…

    By GOD’s Grace and Guidance we will all emerge from the wildernesses with the glory of GOD heavily upon us, more conformed to CHRIST.

    Caveat: It’s much much much much much much much much easier said than done!!!

    • Watchman says:

      Lol…I’m glad you added that all important caveat right at the end! That only goes to show just how reliant we are on His grace. Two key things I got from your comment are that our complaining is akin to sitting the enemy down and telling him about all your weaknesses and vulnerabilities which equip him to frustrate us in the wilderness. You also identified that Jesus’ wilderness period ending on the mountaintop! What an encouragement to us all. Let’s keep asking for the grace to fix our eyes and stay focused on Him. Thanks bro

  6. Pingback: Obey your leaders (Hebrews 13:17) « Anchor for the Soul

  7. Murmuring and complaining … I have a problem here too. I find myself doing that without thinking and then have to remind myself that I have much to be thankful for and that possibly there is a lesson to be learned, even though I don’t like being where I am in that moment. Praise God He is faithful and patient with us humans. :-)

  8. Watchman says:

    Praise God for His patience with us. Where would we be without Him? You’re certainly not alone there Drusilla. The Lord will keep working in us by His Spirit. Thanks Drusilla

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