So God led the people around by the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.  Exodus 2:18

David is in the wilderness… 1 Samuel 24:1

And He (Jesus) was in the wilderness forty days  Mark 1:13

Moses, David, Jesus are just some of the people of the bible that had a wilderness excursion as part of their faith journey.  We could add Abraham, Elijah, Joseph, Ruth, Daniel, Mary to that list and there are many more.  It seems as if most of the great figures of the bible had a time in the wilderness.  Understand in those stories, that the wilderness was not just a place but also describes other aspects of their existence.  In many of these cases, the location was not only remote but they were also either completely isolated from other people or at least had only a small number with them.  During these times, from a human perspective, it would have been easy for these biblical heroes to feel victimized, abandoned and seemingly left with the only choice to give up.  The wonderful thing about the biblical account versus accounts that you would see from fictional heroes, is that these were real people with real emotions.  In these accounts, with the possible exception of Jesus, each person expresses their fear, their longing for comfort and their complete inability to turn their circumstances around on their own.  It is at their most desperate points that their faith does not desert them, the Most Merciful God demonstrates to them, that He has been with them all along.  Furthermore, God teaches them, that He is the one sufficient to save them from their circumstances, whatever they may be and all He asks is that they believe in Him.

Again be mindful of the fact that wilderness is as much a state of mind as it is a physical location.  Not to sound perverse, but I find comfort in the desperation that Jesus Christ feels in the Garden of Gethsemane as he contemplates the completion of His mission that involves, not only a horrible death, but also shouldering the totality of our sins.  The comfort I find is that My Savior and My Lord, knows the desperation that I feel, though I can never truly understand the depth of His desperation.  His Forgiveness, Mercy and Grace comes from a sense of shared experience.  That Jesus Christ would decide to leave heaven and come down and experience that kind of pain and isolation is such a perfect demonstration of His Love and the Father’s Love for us through His plan.

So, today you find yourself in the wilderness, either physically, mentally, spiritually or a combination of all three.  It may that you have tried all the things that you can think of or that the world tells you, you should do.  All your attempts have led to nothing or perhaps even driven you further into the wilderness.  Take heart knowing that you are in awesome company.  Have faith, that the same God, who was not slow to deliver every single one of those individuals, exalting  His Son, to the place of honor at His Right Hand.  Know, that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ endured His time of wilderness and also experienced triumph over it, will never desert you in your wilderness.  You are never alone.

Be very clear that we have a promised land.  Jesus promised it in His Gospels.  He also told us there would be persecutions and difficult was the way.  Often that path is going to lead through the wilderness.  The world is going to give us all kind of maps to avoid that wilderness at all costs.  Yet it is by traveling through that wilderness exhausting all our human strengths, that we come to understand and then rely on the Power of Our Gracious and Merciful Father, the Love of our Savior Jesus Christ, through the Promise of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that we will reach a destination that is far better than any destination we can reach on our own.

May we find that we are willing to take that journey.  Amen

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