So many of the saints of the Bible have spent time wandering in the wilderness. Joseph. Moses. David. Our Lord Jesus Christ spent forty days in the wilderness. Unlike Joseph, it was not because He was betrayed by his brothers. Unlike Moses, He was not fleeing a murder He committed. Unlike David, it was not because of His own sin of adultery and murder. The Bible states that God, the Holy Spirit, drove Jesus into the desert wilderness.
Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.
Mark 1:12-13 (NASB)
In all of these examples, God used this time of wandering in the wilderness for a specific purpose.
He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons; Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the LORD tested him.
Psalms 105:17-19 (NASB)
You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
Deuteronomy 8:2 (NASB)
Are you currently wandering through your own wilderness? It may be navigating a difficult relationship at home, school or work. It may be a rejection to your dream college or graduate school. It may be working in a job that is seemingly unrelated to your ultimate career goals. It may be a retirement that has been less fulfilling and relaxing as initially hoped. Why is this happening? Perhaps you are experiencing a time of testing? Once again, God gives us His answer.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
Isaiah 48:10 (NASB)
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4 (NASB)
God’s focus is not on the wandering, trials, or afflictions, but on the successful completion, to refine and mold us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. God drove His own Son into the desert wilderness to be tempted in all ways but not sin. Because of what Jesus did, we can trust His promises to intervene in our lives and strengthen our faith during our moments of greatest despair.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 (NASB)
If this is your time of wandering in the wilderness, draw strength and comfort through the examples of the great saints in the Bible. Their wanderings all pointed to our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Great Shepherd who will always lead us through the darkest valleys.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.