"Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness" Mark 1:12
Wilderness: Something characterized by bewildering vastness, perilousness, or unchecked profusion.
We know that Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days & nights. But he didn't have a timetable or a schedule when the Spirit took him there. He didn't know for how long, or why he was there. To him it must have felt like this could be his life now. Right on the back of an amazing encounter with his father God, the start of a new chapter in his life - he ends up being led into the wilderness where everything he believed and trusted in is questioned. Hard, painful temptation to turn his back on everything he knew to be real and true.......
We know the Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years. But they didn't have a timetable or a schedule either when God took them there. They didn't know how long they would be there - and for some of them it was indeed their whole lives. Right on the back of an amazing encounter with God as he led them out of Egypt into a new chapter in their lives - they end up in the wilderness where they have to learn how to be a community again. Everything they knew about life was related to being slaves, and so God needed to teach them how to be free.....
Wilderness looks different for every one of us. But whatever it looks like there will be hard questions, pain and temptation to turn our backs on everything we know to be true. There will also be teaching, learning and new growth but we won't know how long for. There's no pre-agreed timetable or schedule.
God's leading, God's timing, God's teaching.
Our learning, our questions, our growth.
Our trusting that for however long, in whatever way our wilderness comes upon us - we are held by the one who loves us and will never leave us.
"My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you." Footprints