In the film Castaway, Tom Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a clock-conscious Federal Express manager who gets shipwrecked on a desert island. Completely cut off from other people and modern conveniences, he must learn the primitive skills of a caveman. He puts arduous effort into harpooning fish, making fire by rubbing sticks together, and opening a coconut to get its milk and sweet fruit. The movie is rich with insights on how difficult life can become for someone who is stranded in an isolated wilderness.

In the Bible, the wilderness is often the setting for the mighty work of God within the human heart. Jesus made a practice of withdrawing to the wilderness to pray and receive direction (Mark 1:35). In a similar setting, God fed the despondent prophet Elijah with heavenly food (1 Kings 19:1-10), and in the wilderness the Ethiopian pondered the gospel (Acts 8:26-40). After Paul’s conversion, he withdrew to the Arabian Desert and was taught by the Spirit (Gal. 1:15-18).

Do you find yourself in a “wilderness” experience, isolated from friends and family? If so, the Lord may want to teach you lessons of faith and endurance that you could never learn in a busy crowd.