In my heart burns the cry, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” I stand in the wilderness and call out to you, “Come out to the wilderness with me. Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
The wilderness is the good place. Jesus is there, outside the camp. If we would follow Him then we must go out to Him in the wilderness and bear His reproach with Him (He suffered for us outside the camp).
What your wilderness will look like I do not know, but I can tell you that it is good; though at first you may not think so. There are so many voices calling to us, vying for our attention. Endless amusements and distractions drown out His precious voice, and so He leads us to the wilderness where all we have left is Him and we find He is all we want and need. He draws us with His cords of love to the quiet place so we can hear His tender, life giving words. He is the only treasure that will last. He is the giver of the only thing which satisfies forever: Himself. He wants to pour out His love on us and He will do whatever it takes to make us want His love more than we want anything else.
“A voice says, ‘Cry.” And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’ “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not, say the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and His arm rules for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.” Isaiah 40
I have only just begun to know the Lord. I have only begun to taste and see His goodness. But what I know makes me want to go up on the rooftops, and shout out for all to hear, “God is GOOD!!!” Only I could not shout it loudly enough. There are no words to describe the little I know of God. You must taste His goodness for yourself.
Sometimes our circumstances produce a wilderness in our lives, and at other times we simply hear the invitation to come out to the Lord, to withdraw from the things that distract us, with the intention of seeking Him diligently. If you sense Him calling you, do not hold back, do not be afraid. Go; run with abandonment and full surrender to the the will of the Lord. Let go of the things that weigh you down. You don’t need them. You need Him.
These two quotes describe so well what God has been working in my heart in the wilderness:
“I have sometimes heard of spells and charms to excite love and have wished for them, as a boy, that I might cause others to love me. But how much more do I now wish for some charm which would lead men to love the Saviour. Could I paint a true likeness of Him methinks I should rejoice to hold it up to the view and admiration of all creation, and be hid behind it forever. It would be heaven enough to hear Him praised and adored. But I cannot paint Him, I cannot describe Him, I cannot make others love Him. Nay I cannot love Him a thousandth part so much as I ought myself. O, for an angel’s tongue, O for the tongues of ten thousand angels to sound His praises.” Edward Payson
“O what a blessed thing it is to lose one’s will. Since I have lost my will I have found happiness. There can be no such thing as disappointment to me, for I have no desires but that God’s will might be accomplished. Christians might avoid much trouble if they would only believe what they profess, viz., that God is able to make them happy without anything but Himself. They imagine that if such a dear friend were to die, or such and such a blessing removed, they should be miserable, whereas God can make them a thousand times happier without them. To mention my own case, God has been depriving me of one blessing after another, but as every one was removed He has come in and filled up its place, and now, when I am a cripple and unable to move, I am happier than ever I was in my life before or expected to be, and if I had believed this twenty years ago I might have been spared much anxiety.” Edward Payson
Put in the Fire for the Sake of Prayer is a good message by John Piper regarding suffering leading to fellowship with the Lord.