wilderness experiences

wilderness experiences


Mark 1:9-15
The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where He was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of Him (vv.12-13).


Read Matthew 4:1-11 to see how Jesus combatted the attacks of the devil. Read Mark 1:16-39 to see what Jesus accomplished after His wilderness experience.


Are you in a wilderness moment right now? What do you need to do today in order to take another step of faith with Jesus?

God sometimes works in strange ways. Jesus is baptized, and the next thing He experiences is temptation. Led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, He’s tempted by Satan—His adversary. Such is the nature of our own wilderness experiences.

The wilderness stirred many emotions for the Jews of Jesus’ day, evoking memories of their 40-year journey out of Egypt. To them, the wilderness was a place of vulnerability—a rough terrain in an unknown land, with uncertain provisions (Exodus 15:22-24; 16:2-3). It was a place of testing where the promises of God were all they had (Deuteronomy 8:1-5). For Jesus, His wilderness experience included both “wild animals” and Satan himself (Mark 1:12-13). In the wilderness, He was vulnerable to both physical and spiritual dangers.

The wilderness was not just a place of vulnerability for the Jews. It was also a place of transition that lay between their slavery and liberation (Ex. 3:17). Jesus’ wilderness experience marked a transition for Him too. The private years were over; His public life had begun. John the Baptist’s mission was done. Now it was Jesus’ turn (Mark 1:14-15).

Have you ever had a wilderness experience—a time of vulnerability and testing far away from all that is familiar and certain? Perhaps it involved a risky step of faith, a period of doubt, or even disobedience. The terrain was rocky; you were cold and afraid. During that time, did you realize that the wilderness was where God trained Israel as His child? Spoke to His prophets? Prepared His people, and His Son, for a significant work?

The wilderness can be a scary place—full of dangers. But if you stay close to the God of Israel, close to Jesus, it may prove to be your transition into an unprecedented period of fruitfulness.

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11 Responses to “wilderness experiences”

  1. Sheridan, thanks for reminding us of the beauty and productivity of the wilderness. It is a place of prayer and surrender to our heavenly Father. We can be in the wilderness even while being “active” for God, can’t we? Those are the most dangerous times for us and others. Again, thanks for a wonderful reminder of the beauty of the wilderness.

    • I think you’re right Marvin. Anyone can experience the wilderness – Christian leaders included. And perhaps an experience of the wilderness (a successful one) is what makes one a better minister in the end too.

  2. pjp says:

    Tnx Sheridan for the encouraging article, a good reminder. The Lord really works in wonderful ways. An assurance amidst wilderness. Praise His name. Tnx a lot.

  3. lindagma says:

    It is a time when we deal with “self”. When we have to come to terms with the fact that our strength is not sufficient and that His IS. I read a piece by Beth Moore as she struggled with the fear of what “might” happen. God told her, even if it does happen…you will get through it. It saddens me to think of those who don’t have that assurance that God will be with them no matter what…and oh the JOY of having gone through to the other side of the wilderness and see His hand.

    • Yes! The joy on the other side of the wilderness! A special experience reserved for those who keeping walking through it with God.

      Reminds of Christ’s wilderness journey to the cross:

      ‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ (Rom.12:2)

  4. eppistle says:

    Sometimes, it’s hard to understand why God guides us to the desert. It’s dry and it yoyos from being dull or dangerous. But God uses the desert to make us fit for the promise land (James 1:2-12). And our time in the desert is a blip on the radar screen compared to our time in the promise land (Romans 8:18).

  5. sowharvest says:

    Sheridan, I thank u for this word. The wilderness experience is so ripe with ups and downs and instability. I think that is what makes it so scary. Yet as I go through this “wilderness experience” I have rediscovered that ONLY the Lord Jesus can see me through. Every thing I have tried to do on my own strength has failed. But calling upon the name of the LORD and just holding on the words in the Bible have had me to press on. All we have is JESUS. Thanks be to GOD.

  6. AManofGod says:

    I have come to learn that the wilderness experience is just that….EXPERIENCE! And the more experienced we are the more knowledgeable we become. I thank God for allowing me to go through these trials and tribulations. The people I thought I could rely on will always let me down but God is always steadfast and true. He will never leave us or forsake us and in our wildreness He is always there! Even when no one esle is around.


  7. Irene_Ukraine says:

    Lent coming soon!.. often, it is sort of “wilderness” experience for me
    – Irene

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