THE GOD WHO SEES
One of the first references to a profound spiritual experience in the wilderness is recorded in
Genesis chapter 16. It happened to a young girl named Hagar who was a handmaiden to Sarai, Abram's wife. Because Abram and Sarai were unable to bear children, they decided for Abram to bear a child by Hagar. This was an acceptable custom of the day, but not acceptable to God.
When Hagar learned she was pregnant, the tension grew between her and Sarai to the point that
Hagar fled into the desert. There, the Angel of the Lord found her alone and distraught. The Angel of the Lord told Hagar to return to her mistress and that her seed--the generations from her son--would be greatly multiplied. This was fulfilled through Ishmael, the child she would later bear:
So she called the name of the Lord Who spoke to her, You are a God of seeing, for she said, Have I [not] even here [in the wilderness] looked upon Him Who sees me [and lived]? Or have I here also seen [the future purposes or designs of] Him Who sees me? Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi [A well to the Living one Who sees me]; it is between Kadesh and Bered. (Genesis 16:13-14) AMP)
Hagar declared, "You are the God who sees me!" No matter why you are in the wilderness--for discipline, for preparation, or even if you have retreated to a self-imposed wilderness as Hagar did--God sees you there. You may be in a desert, but it is not a wasteland when God is there!
Hagar had another wilderness experience years later after Isaac was born to Sarah and Abraham. She had to leave her home because God had declared that the child of the flesh (Ishmael) could not remain in the same house with the child of promise (Isaac). The Bible says:
...she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar ? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. (Genesis 21:14-19)
Hagar thought she and her child would die in the wilderness--but again, God came to her. He opened her eyes to see a fountain in the wilderness where she could drink and be sustained. God sees you in your wilderness. Ask Him to open your eyes to see the spiritual waters flowing there which will sustain and refresh you.