The Israelites had a four hundred and thirty year stint in Egypt which culminated in severe hardship under King Pharaoh but the Lord delivered them using Moses. And immediately they left Egypt and successfully crossed the Red Sea on dry land, they began another journey to the Promised Land (a land flowing with milk and honey) via the wilderness. But along the way, they rebelled against God and he punished them such that their journey which was supposed to last barely eleven (11) days went on to last forty (40) agonizing years. The Promised Land was in fact within their reach but they just couldn’t get in there. On the whole, their experience was characterized by hardship, insecurity, grief, terror, multiple deaths etc. I label it ‘The Wilderness Experience’.
Wilderness Experiences are not restricted to the Israelites alone. They afflict the entire human race. Figuratively speaking, any human experience that makes a person to stray from his or her chosen goal needlessly or that causes prolonged hardship, insecurity, frustration, grief; etc can be regarded as a Wilderness Experience. And if care is not taken, it can cause untimely death.
There are many distinctive facts about Wilderness Experiences. Let us consider some of them for now.
1. They are inevitable. Most of the time, Wilderness Experiences are inevitable therefore all of us will experience them at some point that is, if we haven’t already. We should be happy though since Jesus fore-warned us about them in John 16:33 when he said ‘’…In the world you will have tribulation…’’. His admonition is invaluable as it helps to prepare us for them.
2. They don’t last forever. While it may be necessary to pass through wilderness experiences, we do not have to live there. And more importantly, they don’t last forever. Apostle Paul confirmed this in 2 Corinthians 4:17 when he said: ‘’For our light affliction, which is but for a moment…’’. Bear this in mind all the time.
3. Only strong willed people will overcome them. The outcome of Wilderness Experiences depends largely on how they are handled. Often, Satan initiates them and he strikes harder and sharper when his victims are spineless. But if you stand up to him, eye ball to eyeball, he will flee from you (James 4:7). Apostle Paul also advised us to endure hardships (Wilderness Experiences) robustly (2 Timothy 2:3). When you do so in the name of Jesus, you will overcome them eventually; this I am positive about.
4. God is ready to set you free from them. The bible is replete with people who encountered Wilderness Experiences in the past. They include Job, Moses, Elijah, King David, Jephtha, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Nego, Apostles Paul, Silas, Peter et cetera. All of them relied on God for their deliverance and they were not let down. In the same vein, God is willing and able to deliver you too if you allow him. He attested to this fact in Psalm 50:15 when he said: ‘’call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you…’’
Friend, are you or somebody close to you going through a ‘Wilderness Experience’ at the moment? Are you tired of it and are you prepared to do away with it? If you are, then ask God to help you today and he will in Jesus name. Amen.
Jesus is Lord!