"And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel." Luke 1:80
What happens in the wilderness?
As we look through the Scriptures what we see is that testing and trials happen in the wilderness. Temptations by the enemy of our soul happen in the wilderness.
Why does God allow this?
And yes He does allow it.
("Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat" Luke 22:31)
Let us not forget He is sovereign. Satan has to have permission to touch you and even then he can only go as far as God allows (Job 1:6-12)
In the wilderness God allows us to face trials, temptations, and testing so that we may grow strong in spirit. We can think we believe something. We can think we could stand in a certain situation. We can think, but we just won't know until we are in the midst of it.
Have you ever let your mouth boast about how you would do something if it was you and then... it is you? In the real situation, not the hypothetical one, how did you respond?
The wilderness is used by God to show us who we really are. In the wilderness we learn that we cannot trust our hearts, our emotions, our flesh. We learn that we are completely dependant upon God.
In the wilderness we also, most importantly, learn that our God is completely dependable.
We learn that if we trust in Him, He will never fail us. We grow strong in spirit, so that in the day of battle, in the day that we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we truly will fear no evil, and no one and no thing will be able to crush our spirit, because we know our God.
It didn't matter who came against John. It could be the king, it could be a religious leader, it could be soldier, it didn't matter. He was strong in spirit. He knew his God and nothing would stop him from crying out the the truth. Nothing would keep him from calling out in the wilderness, "Repent the kingdom of God is at hand" Everyone had to repent. His shout didn't change according to who was listening. In the desert he had learned who his God was and he feared no man.
John waited in the wilderness, growing in the knowledge of God and becoming strong in spirit, and he stayed there until God knew he was ready. Not until he thought he was ready.
The wilderness may not be a fun place to be... but the benefit of it lasts until all eternity. If you desire to be a mighty soldier, a mighty servant of God, to be used by Him to shine the Light of the gospel of our God to those who are hiding in the darkness, then you better be ready for some wilderness training.
You will not learn to speak with bold confidence any other way.
Building a strong brick house with a solid foundation takes a little more sweat and effort than throwing together a grass hut on the sand... but which one is going to stand through the storm?