The Wilderness is Only the Beginning

Trail up the Cinder Cone in Lassen National Park, California

Trail up the Cinder Cone in Lassen National Park, California

Something I have learned while wandering the wild places of the US and Canada is that the wilderness is not our final destination.  God uses the wilderness – it’s often where He chooses to speak with us, to grow us, to create relationship, and to bless us.  God even draws us out into the wilderness to reveal Himself to us.

Mt. Shasta from the Big Crack, Lava Beds National Monument, California

Mt. Shasta from the Big Crack, Lava Beds National Monument, California

But the wilderness is not our ultimate destination.  It’s a place of rest or a place of learning along the way.  After we have spent the time necessary or available there, we must move on back to the places God has told us to be – our everyday lives.

Gnarl Ridge, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon

Gnarl Ridge, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon

In I Kings 19 we find Elijah running into the desert.  His goal, initially, was to escape those who wanted to take His life.  When God saw what he was doing, God provided food for him and sent him even further into the desert, to a cave in the very Mount of God.  There God displayed His majesty and His character to Elijah.  But the desert was not Elijah’s final destination.  When God finished revealing Himself in the wilderness, He sent Elijah back to his everyday life as a prophet – to anoint kings and successors and to the people of Israel who still set their hearts on the Lord.

Roads near Hidden Valley, Moab, Utah

Roads near Hidden Valley, Moab, Utah

David also fled into the wilderness, as did Moses.  Both of these men spent years roaming the wild and arid places.  They learned of God there; they also learned practical skills that would be helpful to them in their lives in the future.  But their ultimate destination wasn’t to live out their days herding sheep or living as nomadic raiders.  God called them out of the wilderness to lead nations.

Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

The wilderness can seem like an inviting place once we have met God there, once we have experienced Him and His creation.  It can be a place of escape from everyday life, a way to interact with God, to learn of Him, to build relationship, to become the people that God has in mind.  But like Elijah, David, and Moses, the wilderness is not our final destination, even in this life.

Slickrock above Coyote Gulch, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Slickrock above Coyote Gulch, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Somehow, we must find a way to transfer what we have learned from the wilderness into our everyday lives.  To take the relationship built with God into work, school, and home life; to continue to live in the reality of His presence we have experienced in that place.

Coastal woods south of Third Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

Coastal woods south of Third Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

You see, the wilderness is merely the beginning, not the end – the beginning of trust, the beginning of faith, the beginning of relationship.  We can go out into it again and again and again, to be refreshed and restored, but the relationship has no depth unless it comes back with us, unless the changes worked there become evident in the way we live outside the wilderness.

2 thoughts on “The Wilderness is Only the Beginning

  1. Glenda Just

    Anne, I can’t thank you enough for the information I have discovered on your page, as we are preparing for our first trip next fall to Big Bend National Park. WE are relying on your suggestions and experience to guide us. I also discovered the other places you have been, some of them I have hiked also. Thank you even more for your words of wisdom concerning our time with our God in the wilderness and what we can learn from it. We are so blessed to live in this country and have access to God’s awesome creation. He obviously has blessed you as you are blessing all of us! God’s Peace! In Christ, Glenda Just

  2. Anne Post author

    Glenda, I hope you have a great time in Big Bend! It is one of those places that is like no other, with so many different things to see in a single park. I am so thankful for the park system that allows us access to the unique places of God’s amazing, incredible creation! ~Anne

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