A wilderness season is a make or break kind of season. Its purpose is to free you from sin and bondage so you can be transformed into the person God has called you to be. Going into the wilderness or desert is rough and it may seem worse than the place you left. You’ll be tempted to go back to your past, not because it’s good, but because it’s familiar. This is a new place with new challenges, and you may not know how to handle them. It will be tough, but if you want to progress in God’s plan for your life, it’s necessary.
The wilderness is defined as an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region. Do any of these things sound comfortable or pleasant? They’re not supposed to be! It’s not a comfortable place because it’s temporary. You’re passing through on your way to the promised land. Do not believe that this situation is forever and start putting down roots. This means not letting obstacles stop you from pursuing God and your goals. Keep praying and seeking God, applying for better jobs, tithing, giving, serving when it goes unnoticed and staying faithful to God when temptation comes knocking.
The wilderness is where God prepares you for the promise he’s given you; the next step into your calling. You’re not here alone or by accident. When we study scripture, we see that those who endured the wilderness seasons were led there by God. Yes, they faced many tests and temptations, but God always provided for them and gave them instructions.
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle… By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. Exodus 13:17-18,21-22
You may think, “If God has called me to do something great, why does it feel like I’m going through hell?”. The answer – Sanctification. The bible says He refines us like silver and tests us like gold. This is how He removes impurities (sin) from us. It’s an on-going process until the day we see Jesus face to face. In this season, you may want to run back to what was comfortable (that relationship, those friends, alcohol, pornography, etc…) but that’s the very thing God is trying to deliver you from.
Consider the story of the Israelites. Although they were physically free from the Egyptians, they were still in spiritual bondage. They weren’t ready to live as free people until they let go of their slave mentality. They needed to be renewed and refined before they entered the promised land. The same is true for us! God uses these dry and difficult seasons to strip us of sins, habits, and strongholds that are hindering our faith. He’s separating us from the “gods” we’ve been serving, so we can get to know and fully trust the one true God and be transformed by the Holy Spirit.
For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison, and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. – Psalm 66:10-12
What matters in the wilderness is devotion to God, Nothing else! Do what you need to do to stay close to Jesus and not grow weary. It took the Israelites 40 years to complete a two-weeks journey because they didn’t trust God. They let fear and unbelief guide their actions instead of faith. God may call you to dissociate with certain people or let go of specific activities. Do it! People may have a problem with it, but don’t let them sway you. Where you’re going is greater than where you’ve been.