The Wilderness Between Calling and Commissioning

spiritual desert

You know this place; the calm before a storm, a moment before an action, an interruption of routine before the response—I want to call this the “in-between.”

This can be a difficult place to navigate and it can be much longer than a moment. It can be a season before the next season. How we think and respond will be a game-changer.

Many people of influence in the Bible went through their “in-between” season and it was characterized as a desert or wilderness experience. A few words to describe these times could be obscurity, darkness or when God is silent. Some got lost and wasted years and hardened their hearts. Others were broken and humbled and remade for the Master’s use.

The Call

As Christians, we are always on a journey where Jesus is increasing and we are decreasing. We may take a detour, but God is our faithful guide.

Our way is messy at times. There is no faultless track; we are learning Christ every day. Through our imperfections, we are learning unconditional love. The progressive way of the Call includes times in the wilderness and eventually what we learn in the valley is used in our ministry to others. What is happening now in your life is preparing you for the next season you will walk in. You are being equipped for victory and effectiveness.

Three aspects of the call:

    • High (Transcends us) – Phil 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
    • Holy (Pure and with perfect oneness) – 2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”
    • Heavenly (Beyond our understanding) – Hebrews 3:1 “therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus”

Each believer has an eternal purpose. We are “called out ones” unto Jesus first and then His mission to know Him and make Him known. Often, we can be so focused on figuring out what God wants us to do that we get lost in a wilderness experience.

The Wilderness

The “in-between” place of the Calling and the commissioning is the wilderness. Moses spent 40 years in the backside of the desert and then he saw the burning bush. The confrontation of God’s glory was the next step of his training was beginning. Abraham spent 13 years of silence and the Lord spoke to him in Genesis 17:1-3 “walk before me blamelessly!” Elisha received his anointing as the mantle was given from Elijah; his great loss brought great promotion. God may remove things that are precious to add something we never imagined. He is bringing you deeper and closer to Himself.

The wilderness can be confusing and is often a place where God can be elusive. Our feelings can try to guide us and be our filter to what is God doing. At times, our feelings may be messengers of something deeper going on in our hearts. God wants our heart. This is the place of activity where we learn to feel and experience God. Job asked in 23:16 not to have his heart hardened because he didn’t want to miss the visitation of the Spirit. He wanted to remain soft and pliable and be stretched to receive more of God’s fullness.

Jesus submitted Himself in the reality of truth. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness in Matthew 4 but He walked in truth rather than feelings.

Here are a few things Jesus operated in

  • Received grace and truth
  • Quieted Himself
  • Humbled Himself before His Father
  • Focused on Father’s plan
  • Spoke the same things as the Father

It is easy to talk and complain about the environment in the wilderness, but be aware: our season in the wilderness will be extended until we learn the lessons that will equip us for the next season. Jesus was prepared for the garden of Gethsemane because He had gone through the wilderness and learned His Father’s heart (Hebrews 5:8.)

Through the wilderness the apostle Paul learned this confession and mindset. Per Philippians 3:8 “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.”

The Commissioning

Moses asked the Lord to “show him His glory” in Exodus 33:18-22. He was put in the cleft of the rock and given a personal revelation of His glory. This was the catalyst for his ministry for the rest of his life.

God will bring us close to Him then lead us out in his power. The measure we grow deeper in intimacy is the measure we are sent out. Let God do the deep work in you and equip you so that, when the time comes to use you, all that is seen by others is Him. The psalmist didn’t want any glory for himself. In Psalms 115:1, he said: “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.”

Are you in the “in-between” season? This wilderness, desert or valley experience can produce so much fruit in our spiritual lives. God is always working and His plan is always unfolding. Jesus will lead you through to His desired haven (Psalms 107:30.)

Find His cloud by day and God’s fire by night. His presence will lead you through!


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