The focus of today is the idea of wilderness.
Whenever I hear this word, I am always reminded of the journey that the people of Israel took after the exodus into the wilderness. They were on their way to the promised land. And in the middle of that journey, they would find themselves face to face with their God, who would proclaim His Word and His truth to them, and give them instruction for how they should live and exist one with another.
What is difficult about the wilderness is not that it can be harsh, or even that it will test you. What makes the wilderness difficult is that we have a hard time accepting its purpose. The purpose of the wilderness is to break us from the patterns that we have previously developed.
One of the great examples of this is when the people of Israel went to Moses and they complained that it would have been better for them to stay in Egypt, in slavery and captivity, than to die out in the wilderness. But God had to break them of the patterns that they had developed over 400 years of indentured servitude. God had to break them of the identity that they had developed in the time that they have spent as slaves, and as servants, to unkind and unjust masters.
The truth of the matter is that the wilderness is not supposed to be easy. It’s not supposed to be something that we enjoy. The wilderness is the place where the things that we have accepted, that are wrong, are exposed. And the way that God works his miracle in us is to reveal to us that we can survive, that we can make it, that we are not alone, that he is with us.
God wants to show us that if we would submit to being his people, he has promised to be our God. That when we are in the place of our greatest need, he will provide his greatest supply.
This is the power of the wilderness, it exposes that which is wrong in us, and that which we have accepted and must now reject. The wilderness sheds light on all those areas of our lives that are not who we truly are. And it takes us to that moment where we can trust, truly trust, maybe even for the first time, that the God who has saved us, who has delivered us, has brought us into the wilderness for this very reason: that we might come face to face with who we thought we were, and actually discover who we are supposed to be in him.
I hope that you will continue to follow along in this season of Lent as we prepare ourselves to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.