DURING Lent we remember that Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness before he started His ministry.
Throughout the biblical text we read of many wilderness experiences. The biblical writers appear to suggest that a wilderness experience is to be expected, and even a necessary part of walking with God. Nowhere is this made clearer than in the life of Jesus.


I wonder have you ever encountered a wilderness experience?  All sorts of things can lead us to a barren place. In a sense we are in a Covid wilderness. Our days feel long, dark and difficult. You may struggle simply to survive day to day – physically, emotionally or spiritually. Maybe you find yourself in a place where everything feels as though it is being stripped away, and you hunger and thirst for something more.
Wilderness wanderers know what it is to feel lonely and hopeless. Disillusionment and discouragement can set in as we seek directions to help us to get out of this desolate place.

It is natural to cry out for relief, and to long for such days in the wilderness to cease. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for ‘desert’ means ‘place of speaking’. It is often in the desert place that God speaks. He always finds a way to be present. The desert place is an opportunity to be still, to rely and listen to God.
Our wilderness experience tends to surface what is happening deep within us. It is possible that when we find ourselves in the wilderness, like Jesus, we are actually being prepared for whatever lies ahead. Let’s remember the words penned by Jesus’ brother, James: “The testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:3.) There are many lessons to be learnt in the wilderness.

To the wilderness wanderers – keep walking and don’t lose hope. I pray we will draw comfort from the words of Paul: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8.)