Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness… Matthew 4:1
The desert is symbolic of the harshness and isolation we can often feel, even in our crowded world. Rejection, failure and the disappointments of life can send us there, feeling thirsty and barren. It does not usually occur to me that God might be leading me there. Feelings of emptiness and isolation are usually ones I seek to avoid or fill in some temporary way. However, when I have been able to share those painful feeling of exile with God, I have found He is very near.
The discovery of my weaknesses as I complain about even the smallest inconvenience, is a humbling thing. The truth is, the testing experiences are the ones that most often form character and liberate me from my vices. No wonder the early disciple boasted in their weakness and gloried in their shame. In those humbling moments their faith grew in proportion to their endurance of hardship.
In the stories of the Bible from the time of Moses to the era of the prophets, people met God in the desert and found hope and courage. They were socially and physically isolated from the centre of life in what the Celtics call thin places, but never alone. There on the fringes where the sense of isolation is most acute, often the heavens opened for them. Like Jacob seeing angels on a ladder, people who were thrust into the wilderness discovered, Bethel, the house of God. Into the wilderness, Jesus was led by the Spirit. There he overcame temptation by utter trust in the Lord and then the Bible says,
. . . . . .the devil left Jesus, and angels came to help him. Math. 4:11
What desert places have you been led to? Can you see God’s hand guiding you even in your wilderness experiences. Many have found Him to be a source of refreshing streams of water when they needed him most. He supernaturally transforms deserts into blooming gardens.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus Isa. 35:1