The Wilderness

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The wilderness. A place far away. The wilderness of the soul. The wilderness of relationship. The wilderness of being. A place where all senses are both parched, starved and then finally, restored.

I’ve been pondering times when I, and those around me have been in the wilderness. When ones I’ve loved have been far away – either physically, mentally, relationally or spiritually. Times when no amount of reaching out could save them from the scorched earth they have found themselves in. 

History is littered with times of people who have had wilderness experiences. Some are self-imposed, some are enforced by outside forces. I think of Joseph, head filled with dreams and promises, sold as a slave. I think of  Moses, wondering around the Middle Eastern desert for many, many years. I think of David, who was promised to become king, running into the desert for his life. 

All these stories have similarities. These men’s lives start full of promise – whether it be dreams, a royal upbringing or a promise of greatness. I think of a life changing event or events these men had – challenges on their life, a fissure between their promised glory and their present reality. I try to empathise with these men – how would I react if everything I held dear was ripped away from me? My home, my family, my comfort, my stability taken away and I was flung into the desert. 

There’s a few ways we can react when we are having a wilderness experience. When everything seems far away, when even a little comfort seems unattainable. When we thirst for refreshment of the soul, of the mind, of the spirit or some nourishment relationally. 

I guess there’s a stack of ways you can act when you’re in the wilderness. You could just let it overcome you. You could fight it out. You could go into survival mode. I guess everyone is different and deals with those experiences differently. 

The more I hear of people that have had ‘wilderness experiences’, the more I see an emerging pattern. After being in the wilderness, there’s a restoration, but that restoration is always a choice. People generally don’t chose to stay in the desert forever. We all know the aforementioned stories end – Joseph does not lose sight of his visions, regardless of what life throws at him (and a stack is thrown at him). He stays true, he believes, he is lead through his many wildernesses. Moses? He led the Israelites out of Egypt. That’s no mean feat! David? From shepherd boy to giant killer to desert wanderer to King. 

Here’s the crunch. What were those dreams you had in your heart, all those years ago? Where are they now? Have they been snubbed out by life? By a wilderness experience? Maybe your partner walked out on you. Perhaps you lost your job. Maybe your faith has been battered by the storms of life. Maybe the lure of riches ended up just being a rusty fishhook. 

I truly believe those dreams were put in your heart for a reason. I also truly believe sometimes we need a wilderness experience to remember those dreams. To remember what it is you believed in, those many years ago. You don’t need to be in the wilderness forever. You don’t need to be separated – from life, from promise, from relationship, from destiny, from hope forever.

What has being in the wilderness taught you? When all has been stripped away, what is really important to you? 

What’s stopping you from getting out of the wilderness? Pride? Past hurts? You’re right on your own? You like being in the middle of the desert? Whatever it is, you can be restored – but you need to make the decision.

Look around you – the world is full of stories of the odds being battled. Of sunshine after the rain. Of the stillness after the storm has past.

It’s time for you to write your story of coming out of the wilderness. 

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  1. mzpresser

    Great post! God sent me to the wilderness to be alone and get the help and healing I needed. I felt all alone but I knew it’s what He wanted me to do. After that season, I am now entering a season of restoration. I now thank God for my season in the desert! I encourage anyone who is scared to accept the wilderness to go there. It’s a place where you are stripped of everything but gain back the person God wants you to be. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post!

    • Pete Vidins Blog

      And thank you for sharing your story. If you feel comfortable, I’d love to hear more about your journey- events leading up to your experience, how you knew you were in the wilderness, how you learned to feel comfortable being there and understanding that’s where you were ment to be. Of particular interest, I’d (and the readers) would love to hear about your journey of restoration!
      Thanks for sharing!

      • mzpresser

        Anytime, just let me know how to get it to you. I do have some posts that talk about it but not from the wilderness aspect. I’m happy to write out my testimony and email it to you or however you prefer. Have a blessed day!

  2. Pingback: Serendipity of the Stillness of the Soul | vidinsinbrisbane
  3. paulfg

    Vidins – you have got me thinking. Back over life rather than a “phase”. Because four words seemed to echo as I read your words: to make a difference. An early dream – and one I had forgotten. I never had any structure to that dream. And looking back and forwards to now, still don’t.

    And yet … I get the sense that those four words are all that is necessary. Seems to leave Him a blank page, and leaves me happy to go with whatever He writes on that page. A dream of purpose without structure? Might just be early in the morning – but I have never thought about those four words that way before.

    Thank you.

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