Desolation sounds like a lonely place when God seems silent, but in the Bible, it also refers to the desert as a place for solitude and cleansing. The Greek word for desolate is eremos it means to change in desolation. The wilderness desert made it an ideal place for David to hide from Saul when he wanted him dead. (1 Samuel 23:14 NKJV) “And David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness and remained in the mountains in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand.”. God cared for the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings until they reached the promised land. (Deuteronomy 1:30-31 NKJV) “The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.” Jeremiah sought a retreat in the desert from sinful Israel. (Jeremiah 9:2 NKJV) “Oh, that I had in the wilderness A lodging place for travelers; That I might leave my people and go from them! For they are all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.” John the Baptist came in the wilderness announcing Jesus’s ministry. (Mark 1:4 NKJV) “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”. He was preparing them for the coming Messiah. It was in the desert that Jesus went to be tempted by the devil but also to overcome that temptation in Matthew 4:1,10-11 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” In 1 Kings 19:9 Elijah went into a cave in the desert mountains to escape from the people who wanted to kill Elijah the last prophet.
When used as a metaphor, the desert is a ruthless and harsh place. It will make you think about your vanities, your illusions on life and then give you the opportunity to see yourself as who you really are. You will inevitably become aware of how fragile the human body is. During times of desolation it may seem like you are alone, separated and without joy. But by faith, you know that God is always with you. God will take this opportunity to test your faith and show you that you need Him. God’s silence is an invitation for you to press forward, examine your life, your faith and seek him even more diligently and deepen your relationship with him. God sifts through our life for forgotten dismal sins, brings them out in the open and then together you make the necessary repairs to overcome and eliminate the undesirable. In the end of times when we are going through the tribulations, there will be a time of great desolation and silence from God. Only our faith and what we learned from the Holy Spirit will give us the courage to endure this desolation. God will show his faithfulness to his people, despite their prolonged suffering, undergoing pain, distress and hardships. An innumerable crowd will come out of the great Tribulation (Revelation 7) and it will give glory to God and to the Lamb. This will be the end of our life as we know it today but the beginning of our everlasting life with Christ as our King.