“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.”
“But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.”
When I think of the desert, I think of a desolate place where one finds themselves in need. In need of water, in need of food, in need of fellowship. But God uses the desert as a place of nourishment for his people. Sometimes the desert is an actual desert and sometimes it is a metaphorical one, a place where we feel all alone and in desperate need. Whether physical or metaphorical the reality is the same. The desert is a place prepared for us to be nourished for a time.
Where did God direct Jesus upon his commissioning of his earthly ministry, but into the desert. Why? To be tested and therefore strengthened for the task ahead. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil'' (Matthew 4:1). In the desert Jesus found himself totally reliant on the Father and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. His lack of food heightened his awareness of his dependence on the Father, just as it does us. When we lack what we need, does it not bring us to our knees before the Father in whom we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11)? Jesus was lead into the desert so that he might experience true testing and thus experience the faithfulness of the Father, so that he might later say the encouraging words, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25).
Look at how God led the nation of Israel into the desert for forty years before bringing them into the promised land. Yes, this was a punishment for a lack of faith by the first generation, but it was also an opportunity for the second generation to know firsthand the mighty faithfulness of God! They lived for forty years on His supernatural provision. From the manna and quail provided six days a week with a double portion on Fridays and from the water out of The Rock! “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3). This is the lesson that we can only learn in the desert or time of great need. That we (man) only can be sustained by the word of God. And who is the world of God? But Jesus, our creator and sustainer (John 1:1-5).
So, Christian friend, do not try to avoid the desert as is so often our tendency. But lean into what God has for you in the desert. Our culture constantly seeks self-indulgence. I'm totally guilty of this myself. How many times have we said to ourselves, I need some me time? Not that self-care isn’t important but that we are only truly nourished when we are completely relying on God.
Just as those who have testified before us, the desert is where we get to experience God’s mighty hand. It is where God provides for his people in miraculous ways. Such as, sending the money, or the food, or the care, at just the right time, and in a way that was totally unexpected and completely accomplished by the hand of God. I have heard so many testimonies of ministries and people experiencing God’s provision when it seemed like all hope was lost. Just in our own community of the Rogue Valley we have seen this in the desert experience of the Almeda and Obenchain fires. Where God’s people stepped out in faith and helped in any way they could and as the smoke dissipated (literally) they found themselves replenished in miraculous ways.
I don’t know if you are in a desert right now or not, but I can tell you this, if you're not now, you will be. So, let us trust in the sovereign power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Let us trust in the words of God that he will rescue us on eagles wings and nourish us for time in a desolate place. “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself” (Exodus 19:4). Because, it is in the desert that we experience true nourishment!
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).