Wilderness vs Wilderness Wandering
The thing that people wrongly assume, when it comes to wilderness seasons, is God intends to send everyone through a "40 years in the wilderness" season before they enter their promised land. To be 100% clear, this was never God's intention for the Israelites. 40 years in the wilderness was the result of their unbelief that God would deliver the promised land into their hands.
So, what's the difference between the wilderness and wilderness wandering?
Canaan (the promised land) was only about 11 days journey away from Egypt. That's not that far. The time between when the Israelites left Egypt and arrived near the promised land, where Moses sent spies into the land, was a little over 2 years, from what we can gather in scripture. In this time Moses gets the 10 commandments and the law, and God established government for His people. He gave them purpose, order, assignment, identity, and provision, among other things. This was a needed season, to make them the people they needed to be to inherit the promise God made Abraham so long ago.
Each believer MUST go through a wilderness season before they step into anything God has promised because if you are given $1,000,000 (for example) before learning to properly manage money, it'll go to waste. It will ruin you. That's why a lot of people who win the lottery are completely broke within a few years after winning millions of dollars. They never became the people they needed to be to utilize the blessing correctly. Same thing with some megachurch pastors. They grow their ministry to tens of thousands of people, but failed to learn how to simply host the presence of God on a day to day basis, in the secret place. Because of that, they couldn't handle the weight of carrying something God would have carried for them had they been presence focussed.
The greatest thing this original wilderness season did for the Israelites was it let them discover the God of their ancestors, for themselves. They knew what God did for their great great great grandparents, but God wanted them to see Him in His fullness for themselves. The wilderness is always to ultimately let you discover the fullness of God. Because you are totally reliant on God in the wilderness, you have clearer vision to see Him for who Him is. If you've never gone through a season (which will then become a life) of simply being "His", you've missed out on your ultimate calling. You're greatest purpose on the earth is friend of God (Romans 5, 6).
Wilderness wandering, on the other hand, is a result of your disbelief. God calls you to something, or asks you to drop something, or tells you to move somewhere (or not move somewhere), or tells you he/she isn't the one you should marry, or calls you to quit your job and create a space for people to discover Him alone (that's me), and you respond by saying, "there's no way I can do this so I'll just put it on hold."
Your disbelief has the power to send you back out into the wilderness and wander for years, never knowing what was actually waiting for you on the other side of just saying "yes" and trusting. The sad thing is, a lot of people die in the wilderness because they never trust God enough to jump.
To be clear, God gets more enjoyment out of fulfilling your dreams and callings than you do. He loves giving us a call and watching our wonder at Him providing for us every step of the way.
God providing for His own word is more sure than anything on the planet, yet we doubt it more than just about anything on the planet. We never doubt if the sun is going to rise in the morning, yet we doubt the one who commanded light to appear thousands of years ago and who's word is so powerful that to this day, light obeys that original command, over and over.
You can trace any doubt in God's faithfulness back to a misidentification of who we now are, post-resurrection. We are friends of God. Dead to sin, alive in Him. Sin has NO hold on you, unless you give it hold.
Are you wandering in a wilderness today? Maybe you’re excusing the wandering for "God always allowing us to go through a wilderness" when He actually wants you to step into your promise now? What do you need to say "yes" to, in complete trust, today?
Every believer will go through a wilderness, but we decide if we will go through wilderness “wonder”ing or wilderness wandering.