Deserts And Gardens

Understanding The Wilderness Experience

People misinterpret the wilderness experiences that they go through. Have you been through a wilderness experience in life? Are you going through a wilderness now? A wilderness is a locale for intense experiences, stark need for food and water, isolation, danger, divine deliverance, renewal, encounters with God and the revelation of the divine name. What signifies a wilderness experience is that it often happens right before or after a great promotion in your life.

There are two types of wilderness experience and that is why we often misinterpret our wilderness season. The wilderness season described in Joshua 5:6 was the only one I was aware of. I handled mine by trying to analyse my mistake and repent so I could get out of it faster. The people of Israel remained in the wilderness a long time because of their disobedience. I thought I had to pray, fast, ask for forgiveness and read the Bible more to get out of it. When I searched the Scripture, I discovered that there was another type of wilderness.

Two Types Of Wilderness Experience

Luke 22:39 – “Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not my will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from Heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood, falling down to the ground.”
There are two wildernesses: a wild desert and a wild garden.  Share on X

What is the kind of wilderness you are going through today? In one situation, you need to learn a lesson; in the other, you need to keep your focus. You can shorten the first wilderness by your decision but in the second, you have to endure to the end. In their wild desert, God was calling the people of Israel to seek His face that He might answer them but in Jesus’ wild garden, He sought the face of God with seemingly no answer yet God strengthened Him. The wild desert was because the Israelites needed to change their ways but in the wild Garden, Jesus Christ needed to endure till the end because it was for a purpose that was greater than Himself. Nothing could have changed this. Jesus had to go through the garden.

Biblical Examples Of Wildernesses

We see a metaphorical garden in Daniel 3. This was a place of trials and temptations where there could have been various outcomes but this event was bound to happen and they had to keep their focus and endure till the end. In Daniel 6, when Daniel went into the lion’s den, he went into his own garden experience. When Jesus was led by the Spirit in Matthew 4, He was in a wild garden.

Everyone goes through the wilderness experience; not everyone goes through deserts but we are all bound to go through gardens. In your Christian journey, don’t think that because you are entering a wilderness experience that it is because of your disobedience. Deserts Are Self-Inflicted; Gardens Are Inevitable. Deserts are often punishments while gardens are often tests. You usually face a wild desert due to your own rebellion or disobedience to God. Deserts can be shortened, gardens cannot.

In Daniel 6, I believe the prophet was praying for God to rescue him and shorten the time he was in the lion’s den. However, he had to wait till morning, the next day. Daniel endured till the end. Similarly, when you go through a garden wilderness, you will be there until the purpose has been completed.

In Matthew 4, when Jesus was in the desert wilderness, He was tempted over and over again. If he had lost His focus just for a moment, the outcome could have changed history. Keep your focus when going through the wilderness experience. How do you keep your focus? There is only one thing that can keep you focused – knowing the Word of God not only in your mind but in your heart.

The Promise In The Wilderness

There are two promises in Psalm 23 about the valley of the shadow of death. Firstly, God promised to guide you through it. Secondly, He promised that He will be with you for comfort and protection. Take note, He does not say you will surf through it but that you would go through it. David did not beat the lion and bear in a game of chess but in a battle of life and death. When you go come out of hardships or the valley of the shadow of death, people will probably be able to see it on you. Have faith in the fact that He won’t leave you; you might get bruised but you will come out of it.

When you are going through a wilderness, there are five stages that you go through in your emotions and spirit:

  1. Denial.
  2. Anger.
  3. Bargaining.
  4. Depression.
  5. Acceptance.

When you finally accept that you are not perfect, you have weaknesses and submit. It is then that Isaiah 10:27 comes to pass in your life: “It shall come to pass in that day that the burden will be taken away from your shoulder and the yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil”.

When you come to the point of acceptance, Jesus Christ will turn your situation around. Share on X


If you are going through one of these stages in the wilderness, I want to pray with you: Lord Jesus strengthen them to maintain their focus, right now, in the name of Jesus Christ! The end is near for your wilderness.

Sermon By Rikhard Hartikainen; Blog By Ed Gardiner

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