The Trial of Faith
Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.
Isaiah 30:20-21 NLT
The wilderness, or desert, is the lonely place where we think that God is rejecting us. This wilderness of soul is where the silence of God allows our demons of fear, worry, anxiety, anger, and self-rejection to be exposed. The wilderness is a trial of faith where God uses the stress in our lives to drive us to him for comfort, love, healing, forgiveness, and discipline.
The wilderness is the ordained place of training for the man or woman of God who desires to be used by God as a discipler of other Christians. A clear pattern emerges from scripture, God sovereignly uses the desert places to develop Christ-like character in the lives of his leaders: Joseph in prison, Moses in the Sinai, David with the sheep, and Paul in the Arabian desert, etc.
In the modern world, our desert is the jungle called day-to-day living in a stress-filled and an anxiety-ridden world: the pressures of work, school, family and finance are the tools God uses to teach us to trust him. In the desert, God seems far away, yet he is as near as the air that we breathe. Initially, the desert is a place of dread, but in the passing of time, it becomes a place remembrance of God’s grace and goodness.
Faith must be tried, and it is the trial of faith that is precious. If you are faint-hearted, it is a sign you won’t play the game, you are fit for neither God nor man because you will face nothing.
Oswald Chambers, Not Knowing Where [electronic ed.] (Grand Rapids: Discovery House, 1996), 36.