During Lent we follow Jesus deeper into the wilderness. I’m convinced our spiritual formation and development needs the wilderness; it’s part of our faith, not an enemy of our faith. Like Jesus, we may encounter adversaries in the desert, but the desert itself is our companion.
Modern Christianity has not done a very good job at helping us navigate the wilderness, because the wilderness is something that cannot be controlled. Instead, Christian leaders have opted to either domesticate and colonize the wilderness, or avoid the perils of the wilderness altogether. The Church has been like a finely curated site-seeing tour of a crowded national park, OR a highly controlled factory line spitting out identical molds to forcibly wear over our true self. I’m convinced more than ever that modern Christians need, in the words of Todd Wynward, a ‘rewilding” of the Way, to find God again.
The wilderness, as it is, is an important part of our growth. Jesus’ story and the story arch of Scripture all point to the centrality of wilderness in the life and formation of our faith. Like Jesus, the Spirit leads us there, because we need it. The wilderness is a necessary and inevitable part of every Jesus-follower’s journey. The Spirit leads us into the desert sometimes* because what we’re carrying is no longer helping us, and the desert is the only place where we have the freedom to put it down.
I’m going to share about a time when being a pastor was ruining my life, and how ‘rewilding’ was Jesus’ way of bringing transformation. I’d also like to share some principles from Scripture for navigating the wilderness, in the hopes it would help you navigate yours.
Can you describe a season or area of life where you’ve been in the wilderness? How were you transformed or changed through the wilderness? (perhaps it’s an area of theology, church-life, circumstances, mistakes, decisions, or in relationships)
If you’re currently in a season of wilderness, do you have any suspicions or inclinations for how you might be changing/transforming?