The Purpose of the Wilderness: Reaping From Error

[This is part of the Sojourning the Spiritual Sahara Series. Check out the other posts!]

I won a ticket to the wilderness once. A couple of years ago I was asked to lead worship for our ladies retreat, and a few weeks later I asked if I could use a couple of songs I wrote as part of the “Throneroom” service. Let me repeat that: I asked. I wasn’t asked; I asked.

Cross arm


In the middle of preparing the music for the retreat I was also restructuring our age 3 to 6 classes at church with a whole new vision God gave me. I was the Director, and was teaching every Sunday. So there was a lot going on. My leadership knew that, and was reluctant to have me do my songs since I was already stretched really thin.

I remember wanting to do my songs, but not really praying about it because deep down I didn’t want God to tell me to wait. (Um..have you been here? Please tell me I’m not the only one who has worn these shoes.)

The night of the Throneroom service arrived and I was somewhat unprepared, yet fully determined to do my songs. My team was still learning them at the last minute and I was so nervous I was messing up the timing. My husband was playing and he kept telling me that I was throwing him off. We practiced some more and got a particular song decent enough. Then he threw a bomb in my lap: “It would really be better if we waited to do this.” I threw reason and discernment aside and stubbornly kept to the setlist against his better judgment. Ouch. That was painful to write.

God was gracious and some awesome things happened during that time of worship. Afterwards, the guest minister had a word for me from the Lord which began with “wait on Me” three times. I knew I had rushed the songs launching. A week later I had a dream that clearly spoke to me that I hadn’t done the right thing. (Before you think I’m over-reacting, remember Moses struck the rock and through that disobedience didn’t make it to the Promised Land. Additionally, my relationship with the Lord is weaved with much surrender. An example, here.)

God doesn’t keep us in the dark when we are seeking Him. I wanted my way, so I didn’t heed His speaking through my leadership. I gathered the courage to repent (not only to God, but I also apologized to my headship).

The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV

For the next three months I felt very lonely when I was having time with the Lord. It was dry, and I was in the wilderness. I knew God forgave me, but I wondered why I was in the wilderness. I believe God was showing me the seriousness of what I did. I am truly grateful for that time in the Spiritual Sahara because from it I am much less likely to make the same mistake again!

Error can bring us to the wilderness when we reap what we sow:

  • through willful sin or disobedience
  • through disobedience to parents or God-placed authority
Sahara Desert

By roaming-the-planet (flickr)

The children of Israel didn’t learn their lesson and had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years instead of entering the Promised Land because of their murmuring (Numbers 14:26-35).  Wandering for 40 years in the wilderness like the Israelites is not the best route to take!

Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness,When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.’ Psalm 95:8-10 NKJV

Have you ever been in the wilderness from error?

As we continue in this series we will talk about going to the Spiritual Sahara because you are called to ministry. Subscribe so you don’t miss it! Was this post helpful to you? Consider sharing it.

2 thoughts on “The Purpose of the Wilderness: Reaping From Error

  1. Oh, I’ve been there! Its like I can see that I am making a wrong choice, or pushing something somewhere it is not supposed to be, but I just can’t seem to stop myself! I just messed up last week, with my words. Mean-spirited, pride-filled words were coming out of my mouth, in a very public place, and I knew it was wrong! But, I kept going…

    So thankful for the grace of God, and for Christ who is perfectly obedient for me.

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