By Holly Culhane
As I read through my daily devotional, there it was. The question: Without the formation that occurs in the desert, are we ever truly prepared to lead anyone in anything?
The question forced me to think of my own desert experiences. Had God used all of them to mold me into whom He created me to be, to do the work that He had prepared in advance for me to do?
Oh, He had.
Had all of those experiences enabled me to more effectively influence and impact – to lead – those around me?
Yes, they absolutely had.
My thoughts then expanded to those we know in Scripture. David, the shepherd boy anointed king, not of his own desire but of Sovereign appointment, and one of his desert experiences. He was chased by Saul for over seven years for the sole purpose of taking his life. A price on his head by the King himself, for having done nothing more than loving and caring for his pursuer, he was hunted relentlessly facing death. And there’s Moses. His desert experience – 40 years of shepherding sheep in the wilderness – which prepared him for another desert experience of a different sort, that of shepherding the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land.
Clearly, these men went from “desert to destiny” in the words of Dan Wilt, author of the devotional challenge, Receive the Holy Spirit.
Yes, desert to destiny. Just as Jesus did.
Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry. Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power.
Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
Luke 4:1-2, 14-15
Dan Wilt’s comments go on, “When Jesus went into the wilderness, he was ‘full of the Holy Spirit’. When He returned from the wilderness, He returned in the ‘power of the Spirit’. Something happened in that liminal space between death and life – that place where temptations rage to unseat us from our place of intimacy with the Father. In His desert, the Son of Man resisted until both the temptations and the tempter lost agency (lost power) to extract Him from the love of the Father. Lesser loves couldn’t move Him… the love question had been settled for the King of Kings – He knew Who He was, Whose He was, and why He was. The desert brings it all to the surface to test if it’s real.
“Personal challenges, pandemics, political unrest, polarizing issues, perfect storms in relationships – they can all serve as desert-to-destiny experiences for those of us who walk into them full of the Holy Spirit.”
There’s the caveat! The requirement to move from desert to destiny, at least in God’s economy, is to be full of the Holy Spirit.
“In the desert,” Wilt continues, “the Spirit will help us choose Jesus and the desert will lead us to our destiny, our destination, as a beloved child of God”.
As shepherd leaders-in-training, before, during, and after our desert experiences, we must remain in the Spirit and be full of the Spirit, so that we can work, move, eat, breath, influence and impact all those we lead, in the power of the Spirit.
The purpose of the deserts our Father permits in our lives are indeed to prepare us to shepherd well, to prepare us, mold us, fine-tune us into who He wants us to be. In fact, to move fully prepared from our deserts to our destiny.
The question: Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to form you in the desert, so that you move toward your destiny in the power of the Spirit, to be better prepared to shepherd those in your sphere of influence?