I feel conflicted about entering the new year. There is a part of me that despises 2023 and is glad it is over. Then there is that part of me who is thankful for the turmoil that came with it. I faced the darkest days of my life in 2023. It was the grand finale of a three-year wilderness experience that began the moment I surrendered my life for God’s purpose. At my weakest point, I was stricken with depression and anxiety so intense that I was close to turning away from God if it meant freedom from the pain. But just when my fingers loosened their grip – just when I was ready to give up – God cut a pathway through the wilderness and led me out.

The wilderness, as depicted in Scripture, is described as a dry and barren place. There is little to no food, water, or shelter. The days are scorching and long and the nights are frigid. Comfort is nonexistent in the wilderness. It is a place where loneliness is fueled by irrational feelings of isolation, abandonment, and fear. Temptation becomes inevitable the longer we are exposed to the distressing environment, creating an imminent danger of spiritual attack against our weary souls.

The wilderness is not a place anyone chooses to be, yet we often find ourselves taking up residence there. Sometimes we are there as a result of our own doing, but many times, it is God who leads us into the wilderness. And it is God who cuts a pathway out, but only when the work in us is complete. Our attitudes and willingness to learn what God has to teach us play a vital role in our length of stay. Two of my favorite God-led wilderness stories provide prime examples of this – Moses and the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land, and Jesus being tested and tempted by Satan. Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, while the Israelites wandered around the wilderness for 40 years. A trip that should have taken the Israelites days, took them decades – why?

Because they grumbled about their circumstances and were unwilling to endure the trials necessary to prepare them for God’s plan and purpose for their lives. God uses wilderness experiences to strengthen, humble, and test us to ensure we are fit to fight. For the Israelites to stake claim to the Promised Land, they were going to have to enter battle. Their constant complaining, fear, disobedience, idol worship, and lack of trust in God for provision, deliverance, and strength, however, stagnated them. The original generation of Israelites never saw the Promised Land. They died in the wilderness. Years later, their descendants, under the leadership of Joshua [son of Nun, Moses’ minister] – rose to claim the land after God cut a pathway through the Jordan River and led them out.

Wilderness experiences are without a doubt unpleasant and difficult as they manifest periods of uncertainty, doubt, and challenges that seem insurmountable – yet they can be one of the biggest blessings in our walk with God. It is through the journey that we discover strength, resilience, and unwavering faith that propels us forward.

Are you currently in a wilderness season? If so, it is my prayer that you will not become discouraged – that you will be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9). Trust that God is orchestrating something beautiful inside of you that will catapult you towards your destiny. When the time is right, the obstacles will part, and God will cut a pathway that leads you into your Promised Land.

Scripture Readings:

Matthew 4:1-11 (New International Version)

1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Book of Exodus – Chapters 1-40 – Moses, under God’s authority, leads the Israelites out of Egypt into the wilderness where they remain for 40 years.

Exodus 14:19-31 –  God cut a pathway through the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape the Egyptian army.

Book of Joshua – Chapters 1- 24 – Joshua, under God’s authority, leads the Israelites out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land.

Joshua 3:17 – God cut a pathway through the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 8:2 (New International Version)

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.


Lord, as we journey through the unknown, we come before You with open hearts, asking for Your divine presence to illuminate our path. Grant us discernment to perceive the lessons You intend for us to learn during this wilderness season. May our hearts be attuned to Your whispers, and our spirits receptive to the transformative work You desire to accomplish within us. Thank You, for Your unwavering provision. In the wilderness, where resources may seem scarce, we trust in Your promise that You are our ever-present help. Your provision sustains us, and Your love surrounds us, even amid uncertainty. Lord, we acknowledge that the wilderness is not a place of abandonment but a sacred space where You cut pathways to our destination. Just as You parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River for the Israelites, we trust that You are working miracles in our lives. Help us, O God, to patiently wait on Your perfect timing, confident that Your pathways lead to the fulfillment of the purpose and destiny You have ordained for us. Amen.