“The wilderness is an unpleasant place, fleshly speaking. We naturally want prosperity, health, and easy going. But the same God who created the garden also created the wilderness. There will be times of trial and pressure. Our faith will be tested. But the God of grace will meet us even in the wilderness. Missionary Amy Carmichael knew this truth: ‘Bare heights of loneliness . . . a wilderness whose burning winds sweep over glowing sands, what are they to HIM? Even there He can refresh us, even there He can renew us'” (GotQuestions.org)
I thought of Amy Carmichael’s words as I read from Luke a few days ago. Her insight is powerful: “Bare heights of loneliness … a wilderness whose burning winds sweep over glowing sands, what are they to HIM? Even there He can refresh us, even there He can renew us.”
Perhaps Jesus knew the same.
“He, Himself [Jesus] often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” ~ Luke 5:16
Jesus chose the wilderness as a place of solitude, whereas I tend to run away from this difficult place. To me, the wilderness represents difficulty, trial, desolation, and barren dry places.
But Jesus chose the wilderness.
He knew the One in whom He believed.
I pictured Jesus there.
I can imagine Him sitting beneath the boughs of an acacia tree hidden in the shadows that linger even in the noonday sun. He presses His back against the bark, rough with desert dryness, and raises His head, opens His eyes to behold the heavens and consider His Father.
His gaze must pass through the multitude of thorns protruding from each branch. The significance does not go unnoticed – the thorns representing sin and the curse of a fallen world.
Jesus closes His eyes and listens. Come to Me, My Son. Come and let me ease Your burden.
A boulder juts from the barren earth a few feet away. Jesus heeds the voice of His Father. I can envision Him kneeling against the hard surface, hands clasped, head bowed. Perhaps a tear escapes and flows effortlessly down His cheeks of flesh while He prays for us .. while He asks for strength.
How beautiful to know He prays for us!
But the point is that Jesus prayed often in the wilderness. He found rest there. Solitude. Reverence. And peace.
He did not find torment or failure or fear — those things we equate with our wilderness experiences.
He found His Father.
Our Father waits for us in our wilderness also.
Will you heed His call?