Isaiah 35:1 says, “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as a rose.” Yesterday I picked a few of my roses for a bouquet. Some of them were in full bloom, but a few were still in bud. If we had eyes to see, we could watch a rose bud unfold, until it was fully opened. Its fullness would be permeate the atmosphere with a sweet fragrance.
Deuteronomy 32:10 is so picturesque of God’s purpose in the wilderness. It is to call us to Himself. It says of Jacob, “He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.” That is what the Lord does with each of us.
Before I fell headfirst into the six foot ravine in 1977, I kept myself very busy serving the Lord. I worked in our church printshop full time, and was very actively serving Him in various other ways. After I fell I was bedridden. The Lord used that wilderness time to woo me to Himself. He instructed my heart. I called it the dark night of my soul. I was like the caterpillar in the cocoon. I melted, and from that liquid the Lord’s butterfly emerged. He taught me how to stretch out my wet wings through intimate communion with Him.
The Lord uses the wilderness to expose our hidden flesh. He fingers the enemy strongholds. He begins to bring the hidden to the surface of our conscious mind. Through this process, He reveals Himself to us in ways we have never known Him before. I love the story of Hagaar. Genesis 16:6 says that Sarai had dealt harshly with, and she fled to the wilderness.
The Lord visited her. He asked her where she was going. She told him that she was fleeing her mistress. He told her to return, and gave her His name for her son. Verse 13 says, “Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-The-God-Who-Sees.” No matter where we are, or what circumstances we find ourselves in, the Lord’s eyes are always on us. We are the apple of His eye.
Deuteronomy 33:27 says, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, and will say, Destroy!” I love this verse. The Lord flushes out the hidden, like a hunting dog flushes out fowl hiding in the underbrush. Anything that keeps us from an open, fulfilling, intimate communion with Him is our enemy. It could be stronghold-lies that the enemy erected. It might be our negativity, self-hatred, or self-rejection. He goes for the root.
There are skirmishes in the wilderness. We run into obstacles that seem to block our faith. We flounder in deep waters that seek to drown us. It may be seemingly impossible circumstances that halt us in our tracks. It is in the wilderness that the Lord reveals Himself as we need Him to be for us. For Daniel, He demonstrated His power by stopping the mouths of the lions. For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, He revealed Himself to them IN the fire.