The psalmist David captures the wilderness journey of the people of God (YHVH) very profoundly in Psalm 107. The imagery he evokes is indicative of someone who deeply understands the journey through experience.
Before becoming King he had to survive the wilderness. He endured many days on the run from Saul. At times he dwelt in caves or the desert. He was anointed to be King. Saul, the reigning King, was rejected by God because of pride, stubbornness and disobedience. Yet God allowed him to continue living for many, many years while he pursued David to take his life.
As crazy as it seems, this was part of the preparation process to make David a great King. Why didn’t God just keep him in the palace? Isn’t that what is normally done to prepare a monarch? To prove His greatness, God does not do things how we would. He will expose you to where you are going (in David’s case the palace). Then he uses the University of the Wilderness to prepare us for where we are going. The process prepared David to effectively and efficiently lead the people. It also made him compassionate, honorable, submitted to God’s way and will, a great strategist and warrior (2 Samuel 4:10-11). At the end of his 40 year reign over a united Israel the people were strong and prosperous. He left a legacy that is still celebrated to this date.
In a previous article, Provisions in the Desert, I shared my personal experience of receiving provisions in the desert. Today I will explore the purpose behind the wilderness experience (those periods of lack). Everything God does is for our good (Jer. 29:11).
What is the wilderness experience? It is a period of time where God takes you through a process where you are given very limited resources on a daily basis. All excesses are removed. In this barren state you have very little to aid in your survival. Money, job, clothing, shelter and water are sparsely provided. There may very well be no job. To survive every day you must depend on the provisions of the Lord.
Our focus must be on learning the lessons. The process can be accelerated if we do not:
- Act willfully;
- Disbelieve the promises of God;
- Harden our heart
We must seek to know the purpose of God. He will make His purpose very clear, in the process of time. Once the lessons are learnt and we have grown from the experience, it is over.
The wilderness is meant to accelerate us into our destiny. Our Father, Abba, takes us through this experience to teach:
- Dependence on Him. Your faith becomes strong, as the nature of God is revealed to you and in you. You will come to see Him as your Father, provider, healer, deliverer, sanctifier, friend, counsellor, etc;
- Obedience to His commands;
- Submission to His will;
- That His Word is your greatest daily need;
- Us to use prayer as a weapon for spiritual growth and empowerment;
- Us that daily time in His presence is necessary to sustain us;
- Remain focused on the end result. While overcoming the obstacles that arise during the process.
At the end of the wilderness experience, one always emerges changed. You are much stronger and focused. Jesus (Yeshua) emerged spiritually and mentally stronger when He came out of the desert. He was now endowed with power (Luke 4:14-15). His mandate was clear. His primary focus was to complete the task assigned by the Father. Everywhere He went He declared:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; (Luke 4:18)
Elijah, the Prophet, also was taken through the wilderness. He went 40 days and 40 nights under the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Kings 19). When he emerged he was no longer hampered by fear, loneliness or fatigue.
If you are currently going through a wilderness experience, please be encouraged. Please focus on the lessons God is trying to teach you. Learn and remember them. Submit to His will and the process. You will quickly emerge from this process stronger and more determined.
If you need additional information about the experience, I recommend that you purchase Linda Linkous’ book The Wilderness Companion. It was her testimonies on YouTube that helped me accelerate my times in these processes. God took me through these experiences to remove lust, pride, anger, doubt, fear, anxiety, worries, self-reliance and willfulness from me. I emerged from the experience a person of faith; unmoved by situations and completely dependent on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It has made me very happy, calm, more knowledgeable about the times and seasons of God and far more determined. Towards the end of the last process, I received a plethora of creative ideas for books, designs, businesses, etc. I also received a greater revelation of the plans of God for me. I realised that what I knew before and anticipated was nothing. His plans were far greater than anything I could ever conceive.