The wilderness makes us hungry for God.
So many people will say that when they go to the wilderness, they get filled back up; able to spend time with God, to be refreshed and restored.
But the reason that the wilderness does this to us – refreshing us, restoring us – is because first it creates in us a hunger for God.
The hunger is there, in our hearts, all the time. When we go into the wilderness, we lose the distractions of everyday life. Then the wilderness awakens in us the desire that was there all along, but we were too busy, too preoccupied, to realize.
It’s like when I’m working hard on a project all afternoon, and suddenly I smell the neighbor’s steak cooking on their grill, and suddenly I’m famished. I was hungry before, but I didn’t realize it until I smelled the steak.
It’s similar in the wilderness. We are awakened to the hunger of our hearts – our desperation and need for God, and just how close He really is to us.
When we hunger, God comes and satisfy that hunger. “For [God] satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things… Let [the people] give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind” (Psalm 107:9, 15)
And it’s in that moment that we find the peace and fulfillment we go to the wilderness to seek.