I've heard the story of Moses in the wilderness my entire life and have always viewed it as a story of disobedience and punishment. The thought of God’s chosen people being freed from slavery only to be stuck in the wilderness for 40 years has left me puzzled.

Recently, God has opened my eyes to a new way of viewing this story. What if the “wilderness” experience is really a gift from God versus a punishment from God? What if the wilderness is the most intimate time with God His people will ever experience? What if it takes “the wilderness” to detox us from the distractions of this world? Would you and I still have such intimacy with God if we entered the promised land straight from a life of slavery and never spent any time in the wilderness?

I’ve been in full-time youth ministry for over 5 years now and through this journey I have learned that I’m a modern day Moses. We are all modern day Moses’.

Think about it…

We as ministers have been set free from a life of sin. We have been given vision, purpose, and passion to lead people from a life of sin and slavery into a life of freedom and fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Like Moses, at times, we lead people who complain about everything and seem to forget the miracle of salvation they have received. They wonder if they would be better off being slaves to sin rather than being free in the wilderness. They do things their own way. They choose to worship false gods even after seeing the hand of God at work and having an encounter with Jesus Christ.

The Wilderness has become my sanctuary. It’s a place where I can be alone with God. It’s a place where I am constantly looking to Him for my next move. I look to Him for every meal I eat, every bill I pay, and every sermon I prepare. The wilderness is a place of adventure. It’s a place where life lessons are learned. These uncomfortable times are when I have to look to God for survival and provision. The only way I will see my promised land and fulfill the vision and purpose God has for me and the people I’m leading (including my family), is by living in the wilderness with them.

I understand now that this story was never about reaching a destination and receiving a promise, but about the journey. It’s about intimacy with a God who cares more about the person I become than the place I’m going. The truth is I’ve never been closer to God than in the times I’ve been deep in the wilderness with Him. This “modern day Moses” would rather die in the wilderness conversing with God who created me than live a lifetime in the promised land where comfort becomes a distraction.

Daniel Pruett been a full time youth pastor for 5 years. Daniel is currently serving as youth pastor at Lone Grove Assembly of God. He has been married to my wife Mckinlee for 7 years and together they have a 6 year old daughter and a 6 month old son. Daniel's passion is to equip and train this generation of students to find and fulfill the call of God in their lives. His hobbies include, softball, disc golf, and hanging with his family!

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