Have you ever had a wilderness experience? I am not talking about a refreshing forest type experience but a dry and empty desert one. A forest can offer covering, food, and water even if it appears to be vast and lonely. A forest can be a place of solace yet provision and is often a great place for those who love nature and desire to escape the business of life. But, a desert place appears to offer very little except a vastness of nothingness. A desert is hot, dry, barren, and dirty, yet these are the types of places we find ourselves growing the most in.
A few thoughts come to mind as I write today; “the desert experience, the wilderness experience, the mountaintop experience, and even the dark night of the soul.” All of these statements represent an atmospheric change, and each one could be written about separately. Though God may not be the One to bring them on all the time, He can use them to bring forth His purpose in our lives as we journey with Jesus. Jesus had all these experiences, so it should not be a surprise when we also have them. Something came out of all of these experiences for Jesus, and something will come for us as well, if we allow them.
1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. - Luk 4:1-2 NKJV
The first thing you need to know about a wilderness place is that the Holy Spirit will lead you there. God knows what it will take to break your will, to get your attitude adjusted, or to get you to connect to His will. He has designed you specifically to fulfill something here on earth while you are alive and capable of doing so. The more you resist, the deeper you may have to go into the wilderness to reach the submission required for the call on your life.
For Jesus, this first wilderness experience lasted for forty days before He was strengthened by the angels and released by God to go into His destined ministry.
The next thing to note about the wilderness is that your mind will be bombarded with thoughts that go against God and His purpose for the experience. Satan will lead the charge for this mind attack. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Lk 4:3
Satan will do everything he can to get you to forget you are a child of God destined for great things. He will try to get you to prove yourself so that you step outside of God’s will. God always requires obedience and humility. He will exalt us once we humble ourselves to Him. But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." - Jas 4:6
When you are in the wilderness or desert place, it is not unusual to look for the mountaintop, the place where you finally break through and feel as if you have arrived by conquering the lowlands. However, it may not always be God that brings you to the top. After a while, in the desert place, the enemy of your soul knows you are weak, and he will try to make you an offer you cannot refuse and may even think is of God.