“Come away to a deserted place,” Jesus says, inviting his disciples to withdraw with him away from the crowds out into the wilderness (Mark 6:31). The disciples have just returned from a mission trip. They’ve been practicing ministry. They are tired, yet excited to tell Jesus about what they have learned and experienced. The Sea of Galilee beckons them with the promise of rest and retreat. While this is wilderness, it is not unknown territory.
Jesus knows the wilderness. He knows it as a place of prayer, of retreat, of testing, and temptation. After Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit drives him into the wilderness. Throughout his ministry, Jesus entered the wilderness to spend time away from others for prayer and rest.
Wilderness is sanctuary, space set apart. The wilderness is a place of encounter with God. Where is your place of wilderness? Where will you find God?
This message is adapted from “Wilderness Journey” written by Julie A. Kanarr in the January/February 2013 issue of Gather magazine.