Jesus was traveling from Galilee when He came upon His cousin, John, at the Jordan River. In an exchange between the two, Jesus shared with His cousin His intent for John to baptize Him. John was horrified and objected.
Yet, Jesus persisted and John allowed him to be baptized. Scripture says,
“When Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice from heaven said: ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.’” Matthew 3:16-17
Can you imagine that moment? The Heavenly Father was, in essence, saying to Jesus, “I love you” and “I am delighted in You.” He was confirming Jesus’ identity as the Messiah and His Son.
However, it was this same identity Satan would immediately seek to attack and destroy in the wilderness that lies only a few miles away from the Jordan River.
The scene quickly shifts as Jesus is led “by the Spirit” (Matthew 4:1) from warm and fuzzy to desolate and alone.
Such a scenario could be used to describe the experience many of us have faced, both personally and professionally. Our spiritual journey has taught us that saying yes to God comes with a cost. The same Spirit who affirms our identity as daughters of the King leads us through seasons in the wilderness where we question and doubt what we were once so sure of.
Because it turns out, the wilderness is God’s training ground for spiritual growth.
It is in the loneliness of the desert where we are brought face to face with our dependence on God. We are met with the core of our sinful selves as we acknowledge our desire for control, recognition and accomplishments.
In the forsaken desert, there is room for the Holy Spirit to prepare, develop and mature us as instruments for God’s glory.
Sometimes we go from the mountaintop to the valley, from the good times to the wilderness, because only there, in the spiritual desert, do we learn the worth of God and what true worship is all about. Only there do we learn to trust Him when it is difficult.
Have you found yourself in a spiritual desert? Do you question what God may have shown you on the mountaintop while you journey through the desert?
Though you may feel alone, know you are led by a God who sees. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13
He hasn’t forgotten where you are. He has a plan and purpose for your journey, and it is a plan of transformation.