“Jesus returned from the Jordan River full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the
Spirit into the wilderness.” (Luke 4:1)
Scripture is loaded with stories of events that took place in the wilderness. The word
“wilderness” conjures up images of a wild and uncultivated land, like a desert where
only wild animals live. Its not typically the kind of place where one would want to be led
by the Spirit. And yet, thatʼs exactly where the Spirit leads Jesus after he is baptized in
the Jordan River.
Last year I took a trip to Arizona and spent some time in the desert wilderness. It was a
stark, remote place that was stunning and beautiful in its own right. It is a risky place
where one can get into trouble if certain precautions arenʼt taken. One must literally pay
attention to each and every step you take as you journey through it. But as you get to
that place of keen awareness, you are opened to a truly glorious place where you sense
the closeness of God. There is something about the stark, isolated nature of the land
that just makes you feel closer to God.
The Hebrew word for wilderness is midbar. The root meaning of midbar is “speakʻ or
“word.” Most who has been through the wilderness experience will share that the
presence of God seem close in the midst of that experience. One could easily conclude
that God speaks to us through the wilderness experience. The writers of our sacred
scriptures sure felt so.
My wilderness experience last year brought me up close and personal with this prickly
pear cactus in the high Sedona Desert. It was truly amazing to stumble upon this
“disfigured” cactus in the midst of my desert sojourn. I felt so loved by the “One” who
created it all. As the journey of life unfolds, I pray that you have the opportunity to spend
some quiet time in the “wilderness” with God. You never know what you might stumble