The Christian wilderness can be defined as a period of testing and refinement. It may seem during this experience that you have a dark cloud that hovers over you. You may have also encountered several losses during the wilderness time. It can seem like God is distant and does not care or hear your prayers. Your character, sins, and shortcomings are exposed to the light of Christ to bring healing.
There is a preparation period that God brings His people when He needs to correct undesirable behaviors or even to test our faith. This preparation will be used for something greater in the Kingdom of God. If God has called you to a ministry or Kingdom work, you can rest assure there will be a time of preparation. Many people are made whole as the Bride of Christ during the wilderness phase. Yes, it is a lonely and difficult time, but you will make it out if you do not complain, grumble and trust God. Complaining and grumbling over your circumstances will keep you in the wilderness longer, but having a thankful heart will help you get to your promised land quicker.
You may wonder how long you will stay in the wilderness, but it differs from person to person. I believe I would have left the wilderness sooner than 10 years, but I got lost in self-pity, complaining, bitterness, and lack of thankfulness. Was I a bad person? No, I had not learned how to trust God during my time of facing some very difficult circumstances. I felt like Job in the Bible many times, perhaps you can relate?
I also stayed stuck in the wilderness because of my stinkin’ thinkin.’ My thoughts became sour and rotten, and I allowed my thought life to run wild. Some days I felt I had the right to my disturbing thoughts because of all I had been through. I tried everything to take away the pain, everything except running to God. I thought if He allowed all this bad stuff to happen to me why should I go to God for help? I know that is messed-up thinking, but you have to understand I had tremendous pain and losses back to back in my life. I simply did not know that God would turn all the pain in my life for good. I complained and grumbled about my circumstances to anyone who would listen to me. Why? I was needing someone to sympathize me and feel sorry for me. I thought there is NO WAY other people have it as bad as I did. I believed that God must not be pleased with me, and maybe I was being punished for my prior sins.
I could not see past my pain.
I had so many blessings but I could not see them for all the heartache that was surrounding me. I tried to count my blessings, but it was a struggle for me. I knew God gave me promises, but I saw the “giants” in my promised land like the Israelites did on their journey to the Promised Land.
In the wilderness you may feel isolated from others, distant from God, hopeless, suffer from infirmities, lonely, and may be lacking in ministry work. This is a time to run to God, not from Him. You may be tempted to go back to your former life, or go back to that old comforting sin habit-BUT DON’T! STAY THE COURSE and finish the work God is perfecting in you. It will be well-worth your discomfort now. Don’t give up during your wilderness season, but PUSH and then PUSH some more. I am telling you that you have to push your way through to your promised land. The enemy will try and deter you getting there anyway that he can.
Have you experienced the Christian wilderness? If you are still in the wilderness ask God how you can find your way to the Promised Land.
Check out a book that I wrote on Wilderness Mentality,Stop your Stinkin’ Thinkin’