October 27, 2008 Ration

Luke 1:80

“And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.”

John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Son of God, the one who will turn “many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God” (v 16), the one who will go in the “spirit and power of Elijah” (v 17), the one to “make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (v 17), the one to be called “the prophet of the Most High” (v 76), the one to fulfill Isaiah’s “voice of one crying in the wilderness” (3:4), the one of whom Jesus says, “among those born of women there is no one greater than John” (7:28), this man, John, spent years in the wilderness.

Be encouraged, artists, your wilderness is not in vain. Wildernesses are our training and proving grounds. They are where we grow and become strong in spirit. Do not waste them with fits of comparison, self-pity, envy, or sloth. Jesus had His wilderness, John had his wilderness, Paul had his wilderness, Elijah had his wilderness, David had his wilderness, Joseph had his wilderness, Israel had her wilderness. I dare say that all God’s children have their appointed time in the wilderness as it is necessary for humbling, testing, teaching, and molding. The Lord disciplines those whom He loves, and He often takes them out to the wilderness to love them.

Luke says that John was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance. There was a day set for John to bear witness to others about all the fellowship that he had had with the Lord in that hard land. Public appearance was in the plan, but before John could be a worthwhile ”witness,” he had to be schooled in the wilderness.

One error so often employed in the arts is to think that public appearance is the goal, so we hurry to appear, hardly minding what we bring to the appearance. When our public appearance is our goal, then the fads of men will be our guide. Our public jettison is soon to follow as "fadders" are always discarding.

Artists, seize your wilderness seasons with the Lord’s promise to never leave you nor forsake you. These are intimate times. Do not waste them. Do not abhor them. The miracles of manna, abundant quail, longevity of the temporal, water spewing rocks, food bearing ravens, deliverances, visions, callings, wisdom, endurance, and sometimes even the whispers of God are granted to the one in the wilderness. Do not presume to be ready for such a wilderness, Humility is always its gatekeeper. But do not fear it either, for the Holy Spirit is the one who leads you there and through. He is not called the Comforter for no reason.

Let your day of public appearance rest in the Lord’s timing, artists. Our concern is to be faithful! Pursue faithfulness then. When your witness is right, the Lord Himself will stand you before Israel! The wilderness works for us, not against us. The wilderness straightens out our affections by showing us how fragile we are and how infrangible God is. So when the Lord leads you to it, be full of the Word like Jesus, be teachable like John, be content like Paul, be prayerful like David, be upright like Joseph, and be faithful like Elijah. We are in good company in such a wilderness.

Jason Harms


© 2008 The Gaius Project