Wilderness…To me, the word implies a place that is barren and empty – a place where there’s not much “there.” But that idea loses the first four letters of the word…wild. Wild-erness. The wilderness is, by its very spelling, wild. I am not sure what exactly was out in the wilderness where John went and ate locusts (eww) and wild honey (yum), but if for nothing else, John (as he’s described here) brings out the wild in the place.
On our drive today, we passed a town called Wilderness, South Africa. Yes, that was the town’s name. I tried getting a picture of the sign as we went by but the picture did not come out. It was a lovely seaside town on the western cape of this beautiful country. We spent the rest of the day a few hours down the road though zip lining through the forest canopy. We were, at the highest point, about 30m (about 95 ft) up in the canopy of the forest here. It was a stunning vista and while we were surrounded by trees, it was a wilderness here – there was a wild-ness to it all (and not just my sons shouting at the top of their lungs as they zipped through the trees).
The story makes it clear that whether its in the towns where Jesus walked or the wilderness where John preached and baptized…God was there. And whether we feel we are in the wilderness of life or somewhere else, God is here today too.