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   I had a good job, I was active in church, but I had a few secret sin-habits in my Christian life that although I felt I was keeping good control over them for the most part, I also knew I was walking on dangerous ground spiritually because of them. I wanted to be free but I just thought I needed my habits and that God would just miraculously take them away if He really didn't want me to do them anymore. I had failed in trying to fix myself or to live a so-called "holy life” and I was so tired of trying and failing over and over again for so many years. I had spent my life doing spiritual good works that I thought would counteract my bad works, but deep inside I knew I was in trouble. I knew I was not ready to meet God. Then it seemed as though someone just pulled the plug on the life that I had so carefully built, and had worked so hard to keep control of.


   I was suddenly laid off in a mass layoff at my work, my grandmother who raised me died, I couldn't pay my bills, I was being evicted, and I found it almost impossible to get work. I felt like Job in the bible wondering what bad thing was going to happen to me next. Everything seemed to be coming unraveled, and I no longer had any ability to control anything like I used to. Even my sin seemed to spew out uncontrollably. I was getting caught for everything that I used to hide so easily. I was scared, perplexed, and I thought that maybe God had finally just decided to give up on me and leave me to my disobedient self. Everything in my life was being shaken apart, as if in a violent earthquake that wouldn't end. Whatever was happening, God had my full attention.


   Then early one morning I woke up with what felt like an energy surging through me, which I suspected was the Holy Spirit's power, but I didn't know why this was happening. Later that morning while asking God what was going on, the Lord spoke to me more clearly than I have ever heard before; He said "I am coming very soon and I need to prepare you. There is going to be a great revival and you will see many people saved in this great harvest of souls. But first, I must build a new foundation in you". I was amazed and excited and I felt fresh hope surge through me.


   I then went into an intensive time of study and isolation. I never really liked reading that much, but all the sudden I couldn't get enough of it. The Holy Spirit was helping me to learn things quickly and directing me on what to study. I was also on a very strict path of direction and finances where I could not afford to play around financially. I lived with people and slept on a lot of couches; it was an adventure every day to be sure. I was suddenly pulled out of the world’s normal system of careers and finances but the Holy Spirit still gave me odd jobs to make money that didn't distract my focus from His daily training and time of transformation.


   I felt very frustrated and rebellious at times, like Jonah trapped in the great fish. But no matter how much I cried or complained I could not manipulate God into letting me out of this strange new life. Time seemed to stop for me while others around me just went on with their lives. Whenever I would rebel and try to push for a way of escape I could feel the Holy Spirit sternly warn me to stop it and return to His training. I would relent, but my pride was taking such a beating from all the people who just didn't understand why I didn't just fix my situation like they could fix theirs. I had a lot of advice from others, but little true discernment mixed in with it. They meant well I suppose, but they just didn't understand what was going on, and I’m not sure if I understood it all that well myself at the time. God just seemed to cut off every means of help in my life except through Him.


   I still went to church, and I cannot explain my humiliation when the same food that we used to give out to the poor, was laid at my doorstep. I had to swallow my pride until there just wasn't any pride left to swallow. God knew exactly what to do to go after my fear of man and my need for approval. As the days and weeks progressed, the Holy Spirit showed me the roots of all my pain and fear that Satan had sown into me as a child. He showed me all of my sin and not just the obvious ones, but also all of the pride, old fears, and dark attitudes that lived in my heart. It was very humbling and I just wanted to crawl into a hole sometimes and die. I was dying, but in a good way. It was very hard to have Him show "Me", the real "Me", with all my selfishness and raw unsweetened sin. Without His help though, I tended to excuse or minimize my bad behavior.


   As the years went by, and I lived my "disconnected from the world" life, I learned to just relax and trust God more and more. I mean, what choice did I really have? Where was I going to run? I couldn't go back to my old life (Egypt), because God had allowed it to be so thoroughly destroyed, and that bridge was burned into a heap of ashes. I couldn't go forward (Canaan), because I was not ready, and God would not let me go until I was truly ready. I would be defeated if I attempted push my way out of the wilderness prematurely and into the Promised Land (God's future plan of higher anointed service). I learned that daily cooperation and obedience was the fastest and the only way to get through my wilderness.


   Now it has been a number of years later, and I am so thankful for this wonderful blessing of the wilderness experience. Now the responsibility to daily feed myself falls upon me, rather than just getting a quick religious fix once or twice a week. Plus, I am not pulled around and controlled by my sin like before. I am more loving and real (hopefully), and I have a compassion for those who struggle to overcome their sin problems. I know now that God just wants to clean us up and grow us up first so that He can then empower us to go out and help others. Like any other responsible parent God will mature us before He gives us something that could hurt us, or hurt someone else. God’s power for healing and His authority to cast out evil spirits needs to be given to people that can live a consistently holy, loving, and stable life. I was none of those things before.


   I am at the end of my wilderness experience now (I hope and pray), and I am so thankful that I am not a slave in Egypt anymore, or a legalistic self-righteous Pharisee, and that God will help me to stand in the future battles of Canaan. Every day of course is a choice to be obedient, but I am free now to do what He wants without falling or running, or throwing a big fit. I had nothing but my sin and problems to offer Him when I entered this lonely expanse, and now He has given me so much in return. “Thank you Lord for this wonderful experience”. Remember, God only starts what He knows can be finished. No matter how hard this wilderness experience seems right now for you, God will help you to make it through this desert of transformation all the way to the end, and you will go forward and fulfill your destiny in the earth to help and save many people.


DT 8:2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.