What to Do When God Leads You Through the Wilderness

{By Lindsay Chilton}

When we have seasons of not knowing where God is leading us we learn to just survive. But I think we’re supposed to also live in the unknown, when He has us there.

Wilderness looks different for many people.

For Moses, it was exile in the desert for 40 years. For Joseph, it was slavery and imprisonment in Egypt. For John, it was literally going into the desert wilderness and surviving on locusts. Although these men had different kinds of wilderness they all had similarities.

First, the wilderness is uncomfortable. No one looks at the middle of the desert and thinks “yeah, this is where I want to build my vacation home”. Moses had gone from living in an Egyptian palace to surviving with the desert nomad people. All of the luxuries that he was used to had been stripped away from him and he had to learn to survive as a shepard. Joseph had been the youngest child of Jacob. His father presented him with a beautiful coat, he was Jacob’s favorite, and he did not have to work the fields with his brothers. This all was taken away when Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. He worked hard, had an evil woman tell lies about him, and ended up unjustly imprisoned in Egypt.

Second, God had His hand on all of it. He was molding all of these men for a greater purpose that He had already planned. Moses had to learn to be a leader, Joseph had to be humbled, John was being prepared to speak of the coming Messiah. These men also trusted The Lord throughout all of this.

When you’re in the middle of the wilderness you can’t see what God is doing with you.

when God leads you through the wilderness

In fact, a lot of the time you might find yourself questioning God and what He’s doing with you.

Know that He’s not done with you yet. In fact, the opposite is happening because He’s molding you to become the person that He can use. He uses the wilderness to bring us closer to Him. When we’re wandering around in the desert with what seems like no direction or we feel stuck, we have a tendency to realize just how much we need to rely on God.

The wilderness isn’t comfortable and we’re not supposed to be content with staying there. Many times we feel restless and want God to move us on so that we can feel fulfilled or go and see new surroundings. This is not how He works. He has a very specific plan for every single person, but He doesn’t just throw us all out to go complete something for Him with no preparation.

He trains us and our hearts for our path.

People also tend to assume that the wilderness time isn’t part of the plan and is a spiritual detour when, in fact, it’s one of the key parts to serving The Lord effectively. I’ve been guilty of this before, definitely. I’ve assumed that little seasons of wilderness or waiting were somehow a “mistake” or a punishment when, in reality, they were preparing me for something that I could not have done without those seasons of wilderness and waiting.

Another key attribute of the wilderness is the blindness. It’s hard to see how The Lord is going to use some of our circumstances and we try to make sense of everything that He’s doing. But, here’s the thing, He doesn’t expect us to understand all of His ways or the ways that He’s dealing with you and your heart. This is the hardest thing to remember because a lot of the time I expect Him to explain Himself to me. But He doesn’t have to and I have to be content with that knowledge and know that He will work it all together for His good. This fact isn’t  easy to cope with and I don’t always like it (in fact, I rarely like it). But, praise the Lord, I’m not in control and He knows exactly what He’s preparing our hearts for. And it’ll be better than we could have ever imagined.

So, I’m going to leave y’all with this. When you’re in the wilderness and you don’t know where you’re going and the path is hazy, embrace the wilderness. Trust that our Lord is molding us for a purpose that He has in store for us even though we cannot understand it in the middle of the desert.



  1. Gail Snell says:

    Excellen perspective on our walk with The Lord.
    Thanks Lindsay! You are a very articulate young lady.
    Love you

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