Great men and women have been used by God. These individuals are written in His Word for all to read and remember. Their trials, tests, and triumphs engross us, embolden us to strive higher. We recognize their challenges and can relate; we rejoice in their overcoming and thank God for their testimonies. As we ride this emotional railway of highs and lows, Christians also need to acknowledge these great leader’s time in the wilderness. The waiting, the doubting, the questions, and the answers from God should all be intricately studied.
Israel has sinned. The language God uses in the book of Hosea is strong and explicit. “The faithful remnant should plead with the mass of the nation of Israel to put away her idolatry and harlotries or God will strip her naked and bring drought upon her.
The children of the sinful nation will also be un-pitied because they are children of a harlot who went after false gods and gave these idols credit for supplying her with food, clothing, and luxuries. God will put all kinds of roadblocks and obstructions in her way, and cut her off from her idols until she decides to return to Him.” 
This may seems extreme to some, but as parents we would exert the same punishment to discipline our children. For example, if you have a child on drugs who continually steals from you to engage in his/her habit, has spiraled down into depravity because of this addiction, and has become violent and aggressive while high, potentially harming another in the process, would you be opposed if he/her was arrested? Would you bail him/her out to repeat a pattern of self-destruction or would you allow them to suffer the consequences in jail, detoxing and learning a difficult lesson of foolish choices?
God disciplines His children. Though the lessons are demanding and the struggle to discern fleshly desires from spirit-led can be arduous and overwhelming, the reward is worth it! Although the Lord chastised His people, God also led them into a time of restoration and comfort. Hosea 2:14 reads, “Therefore, behold, I am going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her and to her heart.”
What a beautiful statement from God. We all have seasons of testing and trials. These seasons seem to last and drone on, as if attempting to climb out of a slimy pit. We pray, we fast, we worship, and we cry out to God…HOW LONG LORD? When these emotions spill out in prayer, we need to remember the reason for testing and trials.
An author I enjoy reading is Henry Blackaby. He has amazing books portraying the relationship we can have with God and Jesus Christ. Several of his books have opened my heart to draw closer to God. Blackaby mentions the wilderness season as a time character is developed. “Strong character never happens overnight. It always involves more than simply gaining knowledge of God’s Word. It takes living out the truth of God’s Word in real-life situations.
A weak, underdeveloped character is no match for the spiritual magnitude of leading God’s people. It is crucial for a leader that God builds his or her character. This always comes at a cost.”  Henry Blackaby’s words are true and powerful. God needs women and men who will yield to His discretion, to His will, and to His assignment for you.
How long did Abraham and Sarah wait for the “fullness of time” when a son was to be born? I believe it was twenty-five years. How long did Moses spend on the mountain before he saw the burning bush, character prepared to fulfill his assignment? I believe it was forty years. How long did Joseph spend in Egypt as a slave and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit? I believe it was thirteen years. How long was David tested until he was assigned king of Israel? I believe it was fifteen years.
How long was John the Baptist in the wilderness before God used his voice to prepare the way for Jesus? The Gospel of Luke says, “And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.” (Luke 1:80) I read one commentary which estimated John spent thirty years in the desert with God!
The tender words God uses as to gently and comfortingly allure the Hosea 2:14 woman into the wilderness is not to brow beat and abandon her, but to lovingly show her the Truth. As a woman whom has waited on the Lord, gentle and tender were not the first things that came out of my heart. Anger, frustration, manipulation, pain, and hurt all surfaced, bubbling up out of my flesh and crying out to God. It was in these difficult, emotional outbursts something seemed to break.
During one season of praying over a person who cut my heart deep, I deliberately disobeyed the Lord. I felt in my spirit I should pray 1 Corinthians 13 over the situation and restoration. I refused to do it. I refused for five months. When I had finally cried all I could cry, pray all I could pray for justice, and become emotionally spent in frustration, I quietly prayed 1 Corinthians 13. But, quietly was not the Lord’s will. I said the verses over and over, louder and louder until it felt like something broke in my spirit. A weight had been lifted off of me and it was as if I could breathe again. It was the time spent in the wilderness to which I heard His soft whisper to pray; it was the time spent with the Lord which broke strongholds and barriers keeping me from fulfilling all He had for me or as Blackaby says, “my assignments”.
My prayer is you stop fighting in the wilderness. My prayer is you quietly listen, sit and read, worship and pray to the One who even the water and seas obey. If God has gently led you to the desert, He will restore you to something better than you were before. As His Words states to the Hosea 2:14 woman, Israel, He will speak tenderly to you and to your heart. I love our Lord cares so much about the condition of our hearts. Truth is what you will find in the wilderness. Holiness is what you will experience in the desert. Strength is what you will gain in the challenges. Character is what you will develop as you journey through the awaited reward.