"Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest." Jeremiah 31:2
Nobody likes to be in the "wilderness". We would much rather be in the "promise land"- a land that flows with milk and honey. I want to talk about the wilderness this morning, and look at it in a different light. We all go through wilderness times and when we do we need to see them as beneficial.
1) You can't get to the promise land without going through the wilderness. Between Egypt and the promise land there was a wilderness that the Israelites had to cross. Remind yourself that this is the route that leads to the promise land and I will come out of it eventually, it's not a permanent place.
2) The Spirit will intentionally lead us into the wilderness- He led Jesus into the wilderness. "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." (Matthew 4:1) Remember that you can trust the leading of the Holy Spirit because He has your best interest at heart and is not out to destroy you.
3) The wilderness may look like a barren place, but there are provisions in the wilderness. God provided daily for forty years everything the Israelites needed. God still sends His provisions in the wilderness. Just as He provided their food, their water, kept the clothes on their back and shoes on their feet from wearing out, He will do the same for you.
4) God's presence is in the wilderness. The whole forty years the Israelites were in the wilderness the Lord was with them. He dwelt among them in the center of the camp. He is with you in your wilderness- you are not alone. You have a greater promise then they had. You have the promise that He will never leave you nor forsake you.
5) There is grace in the wilderness. Just because you are in a wilderness doesn't mean that God's grace is not there. His grace is His empowerment and strength to go through the wilderness. It's His favor surrounding you. His grace is sufficient, even for the wilderness times we go through. It will be enough to sustain you.
6) The wilderness will make you stronger and more powerful against the enemy and equip you to do the service of the Lord. "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about." (Luke 4:14) Jesus came out of the wilderness empowered to represent the Kingdom of God and do the work that He was sent to do.
I hope that after you read this you will look at the wilderness a different way and not see it as a place of defeat or a place to be avoided. The wilderness is a needful place- it too accomplishes a purpose in our lives.
Have a great day. Don't fear or dread the wilderness.