This morning I caught a few minutes of Jesse Duplantis, a television minister whose message is usually good and whose delivery is always lively. Though I did not hear his entire message, I was struck by this comment:
“Lonely times and wilderness times in your life—you’re going to have them—help you get clearer on your calling and your goals.”
Lonely times and wilderness times both refer to those times that come to all of us when we feel isolated, alone, and lost. We sometimes remain in those places so long that we begin to drift. It doesn’t take long before we conclude that there is very little worth working for; we give up on pushing toward our goals because they aren’t materializing anyway; we are left going in circles and getting nowhere, much like the Israelites who took forty years to make an eleven-day journey.
Duplantis is saying that those times are, instead, perfect opportunities for stopping to reflect on where we are going in life. The dissatisfaction inherent in those lonely, lost times provides the optimal environment for us to ask the important questions, such as: Where am I supposed to be headed? What am I supposed to be doing with my life? Is this emptiness what God intended for me, or am I missing something really important here? What could my life be about if I only allow it to go in the direction I believe God has in mind for me, based on the talents I was given?
Asking these questions prayerfully and letting God provide the answers to us will not only reconnect us with our talents, goals, and calling, but also help us find our way out of the wilderness.