Imagine being in an arid environment such as the Sahara dessert , where temperatures are above 100F? In such a place, little or no life is supported and without the right equipment and gadgets, it would be very difficult to survive. It is in such a place that some of us find ourselves today; in a spiritual wilderness.
The wilderness experience is a phase that comes in every Christian’s life and it is period of testing and intense challenges or persecution. During this phase, it is easy to wonder if God has abandoned you or if this God fight of faith is worth fighting for. Yet, you would be amazed that even in the midst of this experience you can experience the joy of the wilderness. This joy is not about what you are going through but rather, the outcome of what the experience would produce.
An amazing thing about the wilderness experience is that it prepares and equips us for bigger battles and victories ahead of us. Before David became King, Israel faced a threat of a battle against the Philistine and their mighty warrior Goliath. This threat was so dire that it caused King Saul to cower at the voice of Goliath. But not David; he was full of courage and believed that he could defeat what everyone was running away from. In 1 Samuel 17:32-37, “David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine. Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”” [NIV].
Yes, King Saul had accurately described David as a “only a boy” [ v. 33, NLT], and yet he could not see that inside that young boy was a spiritual giant who had been through the training field of the wilderness. During his wilderness experience of being neglected and seen to be good enough only to care for a few sheep, the Lord was training David to be a skilled warrior and future King of Israel. It was in this wilderness that he experienced the art of defeating anything that sought to attack what had been placed under his care. It was in this wilderness that he perfected the art of using slings and stones to kill predators. Yet, David could have thought it was unnecessary that his few sheep were constantly being targeted, but what He didn’t know was that He was soon going to face a giant.
Like David, you may be going through a wilderness experience of constant persecution or intense trials. You may wonder why you seem to be the only one being targeted at work despite all the hard work you put into your work. Spiritually you may feel as though all the gates of hell have been let lose to attack the bulls eye on your back. Yet like David, you are not allowed to give up or give in. This phase is not meant to kill or destroy you; such thoughts only come from the devil. Rather realize that you are being trained for the actual battlefield where you would be used to bring about deliverance for your family, society and nation. You are being trained to become spiritually strong and equipped to face the hordes from hell and to resist them; to resist their activities in your home, church, work and society. During this phase, it is very easy to shed tears and start a pity party, but doing that only shows the enemy that you have given up and he has won. No, you have the Holy Spirit as your help and God’s grace is more than enough in our weakness.
During this time, ask God to reveal to you the things He would like to make you skilled at, because soon you will be saying to the Goliath in your life, ““You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”” [1 Samuel 17:45-47, NLT].