Ah. The wilderness. What is it about the wilderness?
“And the child (John the Baptist) grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.” Luke 1:80.
John the Baptist came out of the wilderness before many came to hear his message; before he created a real stir. It says that he became strong in spirit in the wilderness. The wilderness has a way of making us or breaking us. It could be a physical wilderness, literally in the wild, alone, humbled by the magnitude of nature and the need to survive. But there’s many more wildernesses. The wilderness of isolation, pain, regret, doubt, struggle, COVID19, being misunderstood, and more. We can live in a wilderness of a particular day, negative family news, a new diagnosis, endless cloud cover, and more.
Jesus spent time in the wilderness according to the accounts from the gospel writers. He was there 40 days, alone, fasting, and hungry. He knows the pain of wilderness, and also the victory of conquering the loneliness and preparation.
We can learn in the wilderness. We can grow in the wilderness. Something as simple as a quiet walk alone, reflecting, can be cleansing, meaningful, allowing the important stuff in our mind to surface to the top. The more we come to the end of ourselves, the more the clarity.
There are forced, chosen wildernesses, that we create in an effort to grow, and then there are those which are brought upon us through circumstance or providence. But it feels uncomfortable until we get familiar with it.
Often in the wilderness it feels as if there’s no fruit. The wilderness of preparation can feel endless unless we have some idea of what’s on the horizon. The horizon requires vision in order to stay on the path through the wilderness.
Training, education, new ventures, relationships, new places, transitions, can be part of a wilderness experience.
The wilderness; the unknown, the wandering, the refinement, the experience, the message, the growth, if we allow our mindset to help shape the experience instead of simply letting it shape us.
What’s your wilderness right now?