‘The people of Israel came to the wilderness.’ Exodus 16:1 ESV
The Israelites discovered that for them, the way into the Promised Land was through the wilderness. This is God’s furnace of refinement. To survive in the desert, we have to follow His lead, stand firm in faith and lean into Him for daily manna. As we cast our cares on Him—because, frankly, there’s nowhere else to turn, the stumbling blocks which keep us from a deeper relationship with Him will begin to crumble to dust. Our self-sufficiency as well as our pride in ourselves and our own achievements start to be stripped away.
The wilderness is a silent place. No distractions. No signposts to the nearest oasis. No cellphone coverage to point you to the closest road. That means God can finally get your attention—sometimes He’ll want to talk about besetting sin, sometimes about the calling He’s placed on your life, sometimes about a gift He’s given you that you’ve overlooked. And once you’re listening to God, you start to realise He’s the only way out of the wilderness as well as the only door into your calling. The wilderness is the place where we learn dependence on God. We learn to trust Him, to rely on Him and to exercise faith in Him.
So, if you’re going through a wilderness experience, don’t think God is punishing you or that He has forsaken you. He’s just allowing some things to die so that other things can be born in you and grow into fruitfulness. Be encouraged; you will come through this! By God’s grace you’ll get to your destination. The truth is, the only way to reach the destination God has planned for you is through the wilderness.